By Hongying Yang
Grade Levels: 1-4
This is book one of a whole series of books that have delighted young children in China for years. Yang’s novels have sold millions of copies in China and around the world. Yang saw that there was a lack of children’s books in her lifetime and decided to fix this gap. She grew into such a prolific writer that she was named ‘China’s JK Rowling’ by newspapers.
Originally published as a short stories in a children’s magazine, Mo’s Mischief (淘气包马小跳) is one of her most successful series. Now published in both Chinese and English, this is an excellent book for students just beginning to feel comfortable with chapter books or those wanting to practice their language skills. It provides a unique insight into life as a primary school student in China, while also demonstrating that there are certain characteristics that primary school boys across the globe exhibit.
We follow Mo-Shen Ma, a mischievous primary school student, and his three friends, Hippo, Monkey, and Penguin. Each of them have unique talents and characters. The four of them together are naughty children who often get into trouble in many creative ways. Even Mo’s hilarious father gets into mischief! The boys battle over toilets, girls, and candy, but they always end up laughing as good friends in the end.
The book has a slow build to set up the characters and the setting before diving into the full plot, but each chapter has something young children will enjoy to hook them in. This is a hilarious book that will teach children that they can love reading as they experience the joy of playtime with Mo.