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Posted March 9, 2013
With an extensive background in learning foreign languages going back decades, I am pleased to say this is among the best language books I have ever seen. The book itself is perfect to get learners reading, which is key to success in building language ability. The stories are short and digestible; they are not so easy as to make them uninteresting, but neither are they discouragingly difficult. The real bonus here, though, is the interactive CD-ROM. First, the CD-ROM material can be loaded onto one's computer, making it more conveniently accessible. Then, the learner has the option of seeing the simplified or the traditional characters. Each paragraph has a "play" button next to it, so the paragraph can be read aloud to the reader. However, one can also click on individual sentences. Mousing over the characters, one can see the glossary entries. The story is illustrated, and clicking on a picture, one hears a short sentence asking a question about the picture. There are interactive exercises (dictation and listening comprehension). The book itself, of course, has the story illustrated (which helps the reader with comprehension), a glossary, and notes and brief exercises dealing with usage. In the book, traditional characters are used, and in the glossary and explanatory notes they are supplemented with pinyin transliteration. The vocabulary in the back is indexed both off the English translation and off the pinyin transliteration, including both traditional and simplified characters. About the only improvement I could suggest would be the use of the National Chinese Phonetic System (the "bopomofo"), in addition to the pinyin, since the NCPS is a purely Chinese phonetic system that has certain advantages for teaching purely Chinese pronunciation. For the learner who is serious about Mandarin Chinese, this book is a "must-have".Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.