Ms. Ko Ting Ting  1  2 3 4 5

Title:  The Little Prince 

Author: Antoine De Saint-Exupéry

Publisher:  Harcourt Brace & Company

Call No.: JF/EXU

Sources:  School Library

The Little Prince is a very famous book. It tells the exciting adventures of a boy from another planet had. On his way of traveling from one planet to another, he meets many interesting people and living creatures on various planets. You will surely love the story as well as the colorful pictures drawn by the author.

On the planets the Little Princess visits, he meets a drunkard, a king, a lamplighter who is very loyal to his job etc. All of them are oddly interesting in some way. However, my favourite character is the lamplighter. Although the lamplighter’s job is very boring and tiring, he still insists on doing his work well. It is trivial but he is dong something meaningful to both himself and the others. The lamplighter is also the only one whom the Little Prince could make friends with.

As we read the conversations between Little Prince and those he meets, we get a chance of thinking from a different perspective, reflecting on our own daily life, reevaluating what we used to believe and follow.

What do you think is the difference between children and adults? According to the Little Prince, adults love figures very much. What would you ask when you first meet a friend? Would you be interested in what he likes doing most when he is free? Or do you want to first know about his age, how many brothers of sisters he has, how much his father earns etc., just like many people do? By asking yourself questions like these, you may then have a clearer idea of what things are important to you.

I am sure you will enjoy the exciting and interesting adventures of Little Prince and get plenty of insights from his words.

Title: The Wizard of Oz

Author: L. Frank Baum

Publisher: Oxford Bookworms

Call No.:JF/BAU

Source: English Room

The Wizard of Oz is a very famous children book.  There are many interesting and classical characters in the story, such as the scarecrow who wants a brain in his straw-filled head; the coward lion; the tin woodman who always melts into tears.  Like the worldwide popular novel ‘Harry Potter’, the story takes place in a world of magic.  The main character, Dorothy, is blown miles away from her home.  She tries to find her way home and she hears of the Great Wizard of Oz who has the power to make any dreams or wishes come true.  On her way to the town of Oz, she met many friends.  As the friends put their strengths together, they are able to accomplished the difficult task given by the Wizard of Oz.  They finally learn the great secret of the Wizard of Oz and a lesson from him.

Apart from the fascinating storyline, as an young adult, you will also find the will power from the words of wisdom by Oz.  Here are my picks: 


     Do you feel afraid in face of dangers?  Do you feel weak at those times?  Would you blame yourself for not being strong and brave enough?  Oz tells us that when you feel weak, all you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid.


      Do you want to be smarter?  As you read on, you would find that ‘brains’ are of no important for human beings.  What you need instead are the faith, patience and endurance in your mind.  The key of success lies in experience which would help you improve over time.

    Another reason I recommend this book is that the language in this book is simple and vivid.  There are copies of both the unabridged and the simplified versions available in the English room.  I am sure you will find reading this book a fruitful experience for both your language skills and mind.

Title:         Frankenstein 

Author:       Mary Shelley 

Publisher:    Oxford

Call No.:      ERS.1233/J

Sources:     English Room

If you know the traditions of Halloween well, you must have heard of the scary character Frankenstein.  But how well do you know about the horror yet touching story of Frankenstein?  As we enjoy the excitements brought by the horrifying storyline, we also get a chance to reflect on our own values and attitudes towards some crucial issues in our daily lives.

Frankenstein is a young scientist.  His life starts to change as the robot created by him drips its tail in the human world.  Because of his abnormal appearance, the robot encounters many difficulties in communicating with the people he meets.  As the acquaintance of Frankenstein are found murdered one by one, the scientist is sure that he has created a horrible murderer.

As you read until the end of the story, you will realize that one gets the full picture only when you view the events from different perspectives.  The shocking truth comes clear as the same events are retold by different characters in the story.  However, the truth comes too late.  While people’s prejudice over the robot’s appearance plays a part in the tragedy, judging and making conclusions based on inadequate knowledge are equally disastrous.

With the swift development of technology, we are meanwhile facing the challenges of striking a balance between the convenience and the adverse effects brought by it.  Have you ever had the experience of drowning in the sea of information while surfing the Net despite it’s widely claimed that the Net grants us the ‘convenient’ access to information worldwide?  Is the technology saving us time or consuming our time indeed?  Have you ever experienced the frustrations when your computer breaks down without allowing you the time to save your nearly-done files?

As we become so involved in playing the computer games, we should be aware that we may have already been kept under control by them.  The fact that the story written 180 years ago serves as such an alarming reminder for the readers to reflect on their present situations adds extra value to this classic.

Title:           Daddy-Long-Legs

Author:       Jean Webster

Publisher:   Penguin Books Ltd.

Call No.:    F/WEB

Sources:     School Library

    I am sure most of you are familiar with the general storyline of this book.  You may reckon that this book is nothing more than a new version of Cinderella -- a poor girl unexpectedly gets married with a rich man in the upper class society.  Yet, the charm of the book does not only come from the fairy-tale-like storyline.  When you pick up the book and read the letters by Judy page by page, you open up yourself to a brandnew point of view of the world by putting yourself in the shoes of a tough, optimistic, diligent, kind-hearted girl.

    Judy grew up in an orphan’s home.  She cherished the chance of receiving education.  Despite the heavy workload from domestic chores, she worked very hard at school, especially on language learning.  After entering the college, she soon found that she lacked the background of children literature shared by the rich girls.  She had to work extra hard to overcome the difficulties.  She tried to catch up with others by looking up what she wanted to know from the encyclopedia.  Like most students, she is weak in certain subjects at school.  However, she didn’t give up.  Her curiosity motivates her to keep learning.  She spared no efforts in getting over the difficult subjects.

   By reading the letters to daddy-long-legs, we could easily perceive Judy’s positive attitude in face of adversities-- she always keeps high spirits.  A strong sense of humour spreads throughout the book.  In the letters, different creative ways are derived to tell the embarrassing / sad events she met in her school life.  She never collapsed in face of others’ teasing words.  On the contrary, she reflected on her own values and thoughts.

    The story brought up another issue.  It reflects the significance of social status in the society at that time.  Without a strong and significant family background, Judy met quite a number of embarrassing situations among her upper-class friends in the college.  As we read along the letters, we could sense the efforts made by an orphan in getting adapted to the upper class society.  However, she got more and more confident about her own choice of the future path.  Regardless of an individual’s background, the values of a person should lie in the inner qualities of a person instead of solely depending on the judgments made by others.

     Another insight from the book-- what do you think an effective way of brushing up your language is?  Keep writing.  For example, start sharing on blogs in English today!

    There were different endings in the adapted film and cartoon versions of this book.  What was the ending in the unabridged book version by the author?  Go and find it out!

Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Author: Mark Haddon

Publisher: Vintage Books

Source: English Room


A Detective Story Revealing the Secrets of Human Relationships and Communication

You may have got an impression from the book cover (where you can see a reverted shadow of a dog-like animal) as well as the book title that this is a detective story related to a dog.  More than that, however, this is a story about relationships (especially family relationship) and human communication.  Written from the perspective of an autistic fifteen-year-old boy called Christopher, readers are invited to investigate an unusual ‘murder case’ together.  Unlike cases in other detective stories, the victim of the murder case is called Wellington, the dog of Christopher’s neighbour Mrs. Shears.  As the investigation moves on, Christopher found out bits of the secrets of his late mother.

Through the process of discovering the truth, you may get a better understanding of the sufferings of the autistic patients.  As the Chinese words of wisdom go, you can always see a better view of the whole picture when you put your feet in other’s shoes.  Though talented with logic and figures, Christopher always experiences difficulties of communicating with the people around him as he never manages to understand the situation in which he is communicating with others.  Also, he cannot understand facial expressions or voice and tone of people around.  Thus he does not have sense of how people feel (e.g. impatient, angry etc.) until very late.  Therefore, he always seeks help from his friend Siobhan.  After reading the detailed analysis from Siobhan, you may also agree that non-verbal communication (communication without words) is indeed complicated and confusing!

The different characters in the story are depicted effectively.  You may easily ‘see’ the image of the main characters in the story.  For example, Christopher’s Father is a fierce-tempered man but he loves Christopher a lot and always wants to protect him from harm.  He is already shouting when he first appeared in front of readers.  However, when he sees Christopher, he ‘hugs’ Christopher and it is not difficult for you as readers to sense his warm love for Christopher from the various scenes throughout the book.  Language is simple in the book.  While reading for the story, as a language learner, you are also strongly advised to pay special attention to the language structures such as reported speech, connectives and relative clauses.  Notice how these structures are used in different situations.