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Review: Easy-Peasy Chinese: Mandarin Chinese for Beginners (Greenwood)

If you are new to my blog, then you may not know that I currently live and work in Suzhou, China. China is a big, bustling place, and I have loved every minute of my time here. As of this writing, I have been living in Suzhou for 17 months. While I have learned some Chinese, I can still barely get by in basic conversations. That’s where this little book comes in!

AUTHOR: Elinor Greenwood, et. al
SERIES: none
PUBLISHER: DK Publishing
ISBN: 9781405318631
PAGES: 128
SOURCE: my library
GENRE: nonfiction; languages
GIVE IT TO: anyone who wants to learn some basic Chinese

SUMMARY: Includes audio CD. This short book teaches basic conversational Chinese such as introducing yourself and others, going shopping, foods, places, and giving/asking for directions. Also includes Chinese characters and mini-lessons on etiquette, Chinese Zodiac, and how to use chopsticks.

REVIEW: I’ve had my eye on this little book for quite awhile now. I like that I already knew many of the phrases (numbers, hello and goodbye, thank you, etc.), but there were lots of new and useful phrases that were new to me. The book emphasizes learning and practicing the four tones, which I think is the hardest part of learning to speak Chinese. I especially loved the guide to marketplace haggling, something I do not like to do and will avoid if at all possible. At least when I do find myself in a haggling situation, I know a bit more about how it works.

I also like the colorful, easy-on-the-eyes layout. This book is not linear; rather, it has boxes of text in various sizes, fonts, and colors. This would be a great starter guide for children as well.

If you are interested in learning Chinese, this is an excellent place to start. I will suggest that this book and audio CD be read/played many times–one time through is definitely not enough. Even though I hear these words and phrases all day long, I won’t remember them after only one read of this book.

THE BOTTOM LINE: An excellent guide to learning basic Chinese. Use the CD and play it often so you can learn the words and tones. This is a beginner’s guide; you will need more than just this to really learn Chinese, but it is a great start.

STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We have three copies, and they do get checked out.


  • YoYo Chinese (video, audio, and workbook series)–There are some free videos on YouTube if you want to try it out first. I am planning to purchase this program to work on over our Christmas holiday break.
  • Chineasy: The New Way to Read Chinese–This is another book in our library that I plan to read. It takes Chinese characters and draws pictures around them to help readers remember the characters. Flashcards and a Memory game are also available in the series.

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