My First Book of Japanese

Bushel & Peck. (Little Library of Languages). Apr. 2022. 144p. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781638190455.
Gr 2-4–Despite page after page of charming Shutterstock illustrations, these flawed attempts at language-learning books are weighed down by inconsistencies, illogical order, and in some cases, mistakes. Each book begins with an introduction to the language, a pronunciation guide, and, in the case of the Japanese edition, an extensive explanation and tables of its three forms of writing/alphabets. The body of each book is a combination of picture dictionary and culture guide, with occasional phrases scattered about. Learning a language from a book without a pronunciation guide for each word is problematic at best. Add to this the fact that Japanese uses three distinct alphabets, and it is nigh on impossible. Nevertheless, these could function as supplementary texts for those learning the language elsewhere. Unfortunately, the books are additionally plagued with inconsistencies (the phrases sometimes put the English first, and other times put the titular language first) and poor organization. Putting calendars and clocks before the section on numbers and counting, for instance, makes little sense. Additionally, the French edition includes several errors or odd choices, ranging from sporadically leaving off the article (l’, le, or la), using the wrong article (le for l’) and in at least one case simply using the wrong word. It also fails to explain the concept of a 24-hour clock.
VERDICT While the concept of a picture dictionary for these languages has its place, these poorly edited books do not fit the bill.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing