Supplementary Learning Text Series Review : 《漫画作文词语》-1, 2, 3, 4 册 By 刘宁

《漫画作文词语》 is a series of 4 books authored by NIE graduate Mr Liu Ning to help Primary school students acquire knowledge of essential phrases and expressions commonly used in Chinese composition writing through an informal comics-style exposition. Published between 2013 and 2015, they can be purchased at any Popular Bookstore outlet in Singapore.

This review is based on editions made available as of 24 March 2017.

The 4 books tackle different aspects of describing the general human condition, which include bodily actions, physical appearances, facial expressions and moral character.

The fourth volume for instance examines how to properly articulate expressions related to behaviours and moral character.

Each page showcases a separate fresh phrase/expression accompanied by illustrations, sentence making examples (造句) and author's explanatory footnotes:

Sample Table of Contents

脚步沉重-Leaden Foot/ heavy-footed

血盆大口-mouth opened, teeth bared

铺张浪费-extravagant and wasteful


面不改色心不跳-remaining calm

What We Like

The author previously indicated his main motivation in writing these books was to instruct kids from English speaking backgrounds in a non-intimidating fashion, and he largely succeeds. Extremely accurate Chinese-English translations, irreverently adorable cartoon sketches and the thoughtful inclusion of Hanyu Pingyin annotations all constitute a meticulous effort to deliver the intended lessons surgically. Each volume is generous content-wise, spanning between 96 and 112 pages.

What We Don't Like

As a consequence of the books being physically pint-sized (approximately A6 based on rough eyeballing), the content appears a tad cluttered. Sentence making examples are typically limited to 2 per page, when more can probably be included on a larger canvas. While the author has conscientiously expanded upon actual deployment of the phrases/expressions in composition writing witin a specially cited footnote box, he occasionally strays into using more complicated lexicon, which might serve to confuse rather than clarify.

Score: 7.5/10

Reviewed by Domain of Singapore Tutoring Experts on 24 March 2017