Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
Not a primer, but good in its own right
on February 3, 2004
I'm learning Chinese as part of my major and wanted a good book on characters, specifically for things like stroke order, and picked this up expecting it to be a practical tutorial on how to write basic Chinese characters. What it actually is is more of a guidebook for calligraphy. Now, as that, it is very good. The author definitely conveys the mindset one needs to be a skilled calligrapher, and gives great step by step instructions on how to write well. For that, I don't regret picking this up. However, if you, like myself, are more concerned with learning how to write the 2000 or so most used characters towards the end of being functionally literate in Chinese, this is not the book to purchase. It would be something like teaching calligraphy to kindergarten students. Also, the stroke order illustrations for the characters towards the end of the book, while representing commonly used characters, are really small, and presume that you've gone through the prior half of the book as recommended, that is practicing each stroke for a half hour a day until mastered. If you're learning calligraphy for it's own sake, or just have lots of time, this is great. If however you need to develop a functional writing ability in Chinese relatively quickly, I would personally recommend buying another book first and coming back to this.