Tuesday, February 3, 2015

THIS IS THE GREATEST PLACE! The Forbidden City and the World of Small Animals by Brian Tse, author & Alice Mak, illustrator {Review & Giveaway}

The China Institute of America launched an educational program about the Forbidden City. Included in this educational emphasis will be the publication of several books. Today we're looking at This Is the Greatest Place and In the Forbidden City.

About the book: Rabbit is eating breakfast with his friends Baby Squirrel, Young Porcupine, and Little Brother Panda when an unexpected visitor arrives. He is a master builder, searching for inspiration to design a great palace for the Emperor of China. Together, Uncle Builder and the little animals explore how nature supplies us
with the wonders that enrich our lives.

Created by internationally renowned children’s book artists Brian Tse and Alice Mak, this book teaches children about Chinese architecture, how nature’s influence can be seen around us, and how people and animals can live together in harmony. The illustrations capture the majesty of both the natural world and the Forbidden City and are enhanced by interactive components for readers, including a gatefold spread and lift-flaps.

The creators of the book, Brian Tse and Alice Mak, are beloved the world over for their heart warming and educational stories for children. They are the creators of the iconic cartoon characters McMug and McDull, who have been featured in numerous award-winning works including books, comics, television shows, and movies. The translator of the book, Ben Wang, is a senior lecturer in humanities at China Institute, an instructor of Chinese at the United Nations, and guest lecturer at numerous prestigious academic and cultural institutions. His lectures on and translations of Kunqu dramas have been reviewed and acclaimed three times by The New York Times, and in 1988 he received the National Prize in Literature Translation from the National Literary Association of Taiwan for his translation into Chinese of Growing Up by Russell Baker. The editor of the book is Nancy S. Steinhardt, Professor of East Asian Art and Chair of the East Asian Languages and Civilizations Department at the University of Pennsylvania. Professor Steinhardt is also the Curator of Chinese Art at the Penn Museum.

My thoughts: Last week my grand daughters visited and we repeatedly read This Is the Greatest Place. They loved it. The 6 year old especially enjoyed the book and the little flaps that you raise to find details. What a charming book and filled with the concept that the Forbidden City is reflective of our natural world. As the story is told, Uncle Builder explains how the creatures of the forest and the trees and the streams are all shared in the Forbidden City. The illustrations are colorful, sweet, and charming and tell the story well.

Traditionally, I have not seen much in libraries in my part of the world that educate children about China. This series of books is a real plus.

GIVEAWAY: One of Chat With Vera's readers has the opportunity to receive a copy of This Is the Greatest Place and also In the Forbidden City.  Begins February 3 & ENDS February 24 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of each book was provided by the China Institute In America to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review. Giveaway copies are also provided by The China Institute and will be shipped directly to the winner by The China Institute.


  1. Gloria

    Their customs involving children

  2. Gloria

    I've never been to China. I would love to visit Italy.

  3. My daughter-in-law was born in China and has family there. She recently became an American citizen and I love her very much.

  4. I love their art because it is beautiful.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  5. I'm just really intrigued by their culture & their customs!


  6. I already answered these questions on the other book's post, but I forgot to say where I'd most like to visit next. It's not something I've thought about much, but I think Scandinavia is high on my list. I'd take any of the countries there if given the opportunity. I would love to be able to share this book with my youngest kids while my older ones study the more detailed one about the Forbidden City. Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!

  7. I really don't know that much about China except most of our products come from there. And I know people who have adopted children from there.
    Maxie > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

  8. No, I have never been to China. I would love to visit Wales and Ireland

  9. Chinese architecture is fascinating.. dkstevensneAToutlookD otCoM

  10. Never been to China.. I'd like to visit Scotland :)

  11. All the differences in their culture

  12. I haven't been there, but I would love to!


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