I’m excited to introduce you to Tim Johnson’s newest book today, “Bosley Builds a Tree House”. This is a dual-language book, and is the fourth in the Bosley Bear series. I received a electric copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This post may contain affiliate links.
Bosley Builds a Tree House is available in seven languages along with the English translations. You have your choice of Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese.
The Bosley Bear children’s books are a good introduction to other languages for young children. Bosley Builds a Tree House is set out so that the illustration is on the left side of the page and on the right hand page is the story in two columns. The left column is in English, and the right column in is Japanese. The key vocabulary words are bolded and in green for convenience.
I chose to review the English/Japanese version of Bosley Builds a Tree House so that I can introduce a little Japanese to my children. We are members of the Japan Society of Northern Ireland, and have attended events such as the Summer Matsuri and Christmas parties. They have heard a little Japanese spoken at these events, and they’ve heard me attempt to speak a few words with the Mom of a friend who was over visiting from Kyoto. I would love for us to learn some Japanese together and we’re going to begin with Bosley.
The English/Japanese book is written in Kana, the phonetic Japanese alphabet, so I need to refresh my memory which seems to have forgotten more than it’s remembered (is that possible?). So I brought out a textbook and the flashcards I made when I took a Japanese course in Belfast many years ago. By having the Japanese in Kana it forces you to learn it if you don’t already know it (not a bad thing, but more difficult than Romaji for beginners or non-Japanese speakers). I looked up the Kana and wrote the English phonetics and then learned the words.
Bosley Builds a Tree House is a lovely book about Bosley Bear and his forest friends. One day they thought that they should build a tree house. They collaborated to draw up the plans and construct their ideal tree house. The various animals worked together to achieve their goal. Cooperation and acceptance were key and they built on each other’s strengths.
The illustrations by Ozzy Esha are cute and bright, while at the same time using the light to make the forest a little moody and mysterious. The forest creatures are endearing and friendly.
There is some good vocabulary introduction in this book. I like that the key vocab are included on the illustrated pages to help children associate that word with the item in the picture.
Here Tristan is actually reading the English. It’s fun that while he is learning to read English I’m re-learning to read Japanese at the same time. I think he is doing a better job!
One way I think Tim could make this a better experience is to have available a read-aloud version of these books. This would help children hear and practice the correct pronunciation when the parents don’t know how to read the books themselves.
If English isn’t your first language, this book could also be used for those wanting to learn English. I’m thinking of buying one to send to the English school I taught at in Toyama, Japan.
“Tim discovered the power of bilingual books while visiting Japan as a teenager. In 2011 he published his first dual language children’s book in 7 different foreign languages as a tool for increasing cultural awareness and gaining new perspectives. Bosley Bear has since become popular among US and international readers, providing a fantastic way for children to learn a second language in a fun, easy and natural way.”
I’ve found it difficult to source these types of books. It’s good to know that a niche in the market is being filled and I’ll be keeping my eye on The Language Bear for future products. If you’d like to follow Tim as well, you can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and also Pinterest.
If you’d like to purchase your own copy, you can use the Affiliate link below.