I say “mostly”, because suddenly in paragraph five, this very easy read round-house kicks you in the head with three super science-y words and some intermediate language, before going back to being simple. Because paragraph five is such an outlier in terms of difficulty, I marked it out as a [HARD PART] in the text, and I’m going to walk you through some of the vocab and grammar in that one bit. The science terms it uses are:
叶绿素 yè lǜ sù – Chlorophyll (the chemical that makes leaves green)
光合作用 guāng hé zuò yòng – Photosynthesis (the process of turning sunlight into nutrients)
养料 yǎng liào – Nutrients
This story being about a big tree, you can imagine why these words are needed, and they were probably included to help teach Chinese kids about how trees work. Four other intermediate words pop out in that paragraph:
进行 jìn xíng – To undertake or conduct
制造 zhì zào – To manufacture or create
等于 děng yú – To be equal to, to be just like
组成部分 zǔ chéng bù fèn – Component part
It’s also worth noting that similar to the story Little Grass’ Silver Hair, the natural elements here are personified as people. The wind is “Auntie Wind”, the rain is “Grandma Rain”. Keep an eye out for those names.
This story is also great for learning measure words. Measure words are words like “a flock of birds”, “a herd of deer”, “a bunch of flowers”, that help count nouns, or describe the nature of nouns. In English, only some nouns have their own measure words, but in Chinese, almost all nouns have one. In this piece, we learn the measure word that goes with forests and leaves (片 – piàn ), the one that goes with trees (棵 – kē), and the one that goes with ears (只 – zhī).
And one last note: what on Earth is up with the “儿” after “叶” (leaf)?! So, 儿 has a bajillion usages in Chinese, and one of them is that it makes the noun preceding it a little cutesy. You can’t use it with every noun, but for example, 鱼 is “fish”, while 鱼儿 is “fishie”, 鸟 is “bird”, and 鸟儿 is “birdie”. And in this case, 叶 is “leaf” and 叶儿 is … leafie? We don’t have a diminutive form for “leaf” in English, but it basically means “cute little leaf”.
Source here – I modified some of the harder words to make it a little simpler.
风阿姨看出了大树公公的心事，她对大树公公说：”不能这样做，把身上的树叶儿都摘掉，你会有生命危险的。”[HARD PART] 雨婆婆知道了大树公公的想法，她对大树公公说：”树叶儿是你生命中重要的组成部分，你要用叶绿素进行光合作用，制造养料。失去树叶儿，就等于失去了自己的生命。”