Fun With Chinese Characters 2

Fun with Chinese Characters – The Straits Times Collection 2
by Tan Huay Peng
Infini Pr Llc; Bilingual edition
2004, 160 pages, 0.5 x 7 x 7 inches
English, Mandarin Chinese

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The second book in the Fun with Chinese Characters series is a continuation of the collection of illustrations from The Straits Times Bilingual page. Each page shows a Chinese character along with an explanation and an illustration to help you visualise and remember the character.


The explanations are short and to the point, describing the radical composition of the character and, where helpful, some of its ancient forms. If the Traditional and Simplified characters are different then some comparison is drawn. Each of the 153 character entries consist of the following information:

  • Simplified Chinese Character
  • Traditional Chinese character (where relevant)
  • Ancient writing forms (where relevant)
  • Pinyin Pronunciation
  • English keyword(s)
  • Description
  • Illustration
  • Stroke order
  • Useful keywords
  • Example sentence


The entries are organised by radical and thus, in most cases, meaning, though there is no strict semantic categorisation as in Illustrated Account of Chinese Characters. The contents page lists the characters in the order they appear in the book, and there is no Pinyin index available*.


The illustrations are detailed and fun to look at, and you can easily spend a few minutes just taking in the image and getting a feel for the character and its meaning. Attention is also given to illustrating the differences between the Simplified and Traditional characters, and the logic behind both forms. For instance, the character 門/门 for ‘door’ is illustrated as a closed door for the Traditional form, and then an open door for the Simplified form.


Below each illustration is the stroke order for the Simplified form of the character. Followed by a list of words/phrases that use the character. At the bottom of the page is an example sentence showing how to use the character in a sentence.


Fun with Chinese Characters 2 is an enjoyable book that is perfect for supplementary study. The small size makes it easy to carry about about and the detailed illustrations are perfect for adults to look at, or for creating accompanying stories when reading with a child.

* While writing this review I discovered that a Pinyin index does, infact, exist. It is located in the third book in the series, which contains a Pinyin index for all three books.

Other books in this series: