Feels like it’s been a hundred years since I threw something up here. Rest assured I carry the shame of an un-updated blog around with me constantly, so – yay, guilt. I’m actually taking intensive classes in Chinese (yet again) to push my reading level higher, hence the lack of posts. I’m more active on here when I’m not studying anywhere else. Anyhoo, this is another one I nabbed from Sina user Zifengling’s personal blog. I tried to convince myself that this was beginner, but I just couldn’t. The words are mostly OK, but there are one too many wibble-wobbly sentence configurations.

Learn to Read Chinese: Stories for Kids in Mandarin ChineseThis is also a perfect example of a fairly easy story that had one phrase I spent an hour trying to sort out, and a perfect example of the reason I started this blog in the first damn place – you start reading and then one word trips you up and you can’t get past it. 99% sure I figured it out, but don’t hesitate to correct me in the comments if you have intelligence to the contrary. The word was 香草娃娃 xiāng cǎo wá wá. Uh, well, xiāng cǎo means “vanilla” and wá wá is “baby”, so… vanilla baby? Really? In the story, 香草娃娃 is used as a toy’s name, so I thought, maybe there’s a toy called a Vanilla Baby? Anyway, it turns out an out-of-use definition for 香草 is “old and dependable”. Ah hah – “old, dependable baby doll”. That makes sense.

There’s one other very useful phrase here that’s very commonly used in everyday language: 太过分了!Directly translated, this means “Too excessive!”, but this phrase doesn’t usually actually refer to a large amount of things. It’s more often used to refer to a circumstance or someone’s behavior, like, “That is just too much to bear!”. If someone was very mean to you, you could say, “太过分了!” or if an interview process was super rough and you got raked over the coals, also “太过分了!”

Enjoy this one, and consider it good practicing in very colloquial story building.

Click to Listen

非凡 – fēi fán – Extraordinarily
舞池 – wǔ chí – Dance floor
气愤 – qì fèn – Angry
对待 – duì dài – To treat someone (a certain way)
灿烂 – càn làn – Brilliant (smile, light)


The new year had almost arrived, and the Toy Kingdom planned to invite everyone to a grand ball. The day of the dance, the toys were all dancing and laughing, and the whole ballroom was extraordinarily lively. But off in one corner, receiving no attention from anyone, there was an old purple doll silently gazing at the dance floor, her eyes were blank and she looked lonely. Just then, a white polar bear in front of her saw this, walked over and asked the dependable old doll, “Doll, why don’t you go dance?” The dependable doll lowered her head sadly, saying in a small voice, “The [other] toys all say I’m too short, they’re not willing to dance with me.” Saying this, she began to cry. Polar Bear was furious when he heard this, and said: “How could they treat you this way? Don’t they understand solidarity? That’s just too much!” Little Bear pulled on the baby doll’s hand, and said: “Doll, don’t be sad. Come on, I’m asking you to dance with me.” The dependable doll heard these words, and a brilliant smile immediately lit up her face. She quickly wiped the tears off her face and said happily, “Wonderful! Wonderful!” On the dance floor, Doll and Bear danced and laughed, and passed a lovely evening together.

31 comments to "The Little Polar Bear and the Doll Dance Together"

  1. This was a really good story and really creative. It’s also about kindness right, quote: never leve anyone behing no matter who it is or what it is. Thanks once again. ;)

    • Reply my best essay says: November 26, 2015 at 1:14 am

      I want to learn Mandarin but it looks intimidating. I have heard that there are more than 100,000 Chinese characters to memorize. Some of the words have the same spelling but pronounced differently and they are totally unrelated. I better start studying it now.

      • That is absolutely rumor! A normal Chinese native speaker usually knows about 3500-4000 characters.

      • Hi My name is Ivy, I’m from China,I’m learning English now, Can we be friend? Do you use some social media? please add me on Skype:ivy1990122 and Wechat: 441020455

    • Hi My name is Ivy, I’m from China,I’m learning English now, Can we be friend? Do you use some social media? please add me on Skype:Ivy1990122 and Wechat: 441020455

  2. Very sweet! 我很开心你弄清了“香草”在这里的意思,否则一定会让我很糊涂。

  3. Hi Kendra, a few dans ago I just mentioned that there was no update on your blog since a long time. Thanks a lot for the nice story and so happy to be able to continue enjoy reading with your excellent posts!!!

  4. At one part when the polar bear said 团结友爱, is this a saying? Or does it just mean solidarity?


  5. Please keep posting! I just started learning Mandarin a few weeks ago and learning the characters exactly 6 days ago.

    This is the best blog ever.

    • Hi My name is Ivy, I’m from China,I’m learning English now, Can we be friend? Do you use some social media? please add me on Skype:Ivy1990122 and Wechat: 441020455

  6. You even did the mouseovers with pinyin and translations, that’s absolutely fantastic. Great job. 非常感谢!

  7. Thanks for the article. I asked someone who knew Chinese what 香草娃娃 is, and she said that it means a doll made out of straw/grass-like materials.

  8. As far as I know wa wa is a “toy doll” not a “baby”. There is a famous drinking song called “Bu Wa Wa” which grown men used to sing, but has been re-purposed for children’s consumption.

  9. I really like your blog and appreciate your work. As a chinese student myself I find it extremely useful. Please, keep posting!

  10. Thank you so much for maintaining this blog!

  11. Reply says: October 21, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    h hah – “old, dependable baby doll” where is the source for this? I am a native Chinese, and I never heard this before. Most of all, I am impressed with your translation. Absolutely stunning!

  12. Reply Hùng Anh Trịnh says: October 25, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I think 香草娃娃 is just a doll made from sweet-smelling grass :D . The “old, dependable baby doll” meaning seems unreasonable. But anyway, your work is great as usual ;) . 多謝好朋友!

  13. glad to see you’re back posting Kendra! i’m out of school now and have few Chinese friends, so this blog is very helpful for my studys :) :) thank you!

  14. 不错,不错,看看了!

  15. Reply kewwblob22 says: May 20, 2016 at 9:08 am

    thanks but ….. 非常感谢你…这是便便….

  16. It is a good story using creative words. Thanks for posting it! It was challenging for me to read it.

  17. Thank-you very much for your posts.
    I’ve learned a lot from you

  18. Saved as a favorite, I actually enjoy your blog!

  19. What is this story’s title in Chinese?

  20. Reply カネキ ケン says: August 16, 2017 at 9:33 am

    well, my opinion is that for ‘太过分了‘ instead of ” too excessive” I think that “outrageous” is a better word to describe it

  21. It is a very nice story which teaches us to never leave anyone in the shadows or alone and treat them as invisible.

  22. It is a very nice story which teaches us to take a look around and try to make everyone feel welcome.

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