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Lilei and Hanmeimei & Chinese Textbook Nostalgia


The Language-Textbook Aesthetic

If you learned Chinese the same way I did, the Practical Chinese Reader has had a big impact on your psyche. The adventures of Palanka and Gubo will forever be fondly remembered. Like that time they… uhh.. went to the … uhh.. to the park. Okay their adventures were not so memorable. But they captured that familiar language-textbook aesthetic with basic line drawings and completely pedestrian scenarios.  


Palanka’s Long Lost Cousins

Chinese students had a similar book which inspires the same kind of nostalgia. Their characters were called Lilei 系列 and Hanmeimei 韩美美. I think they are cousins of Palanka and Gubo, because they look exactly alike. Some artists have taken their memories of these two and turned it into a complete nostalgia box set.  

You can capture the magic too, on Taobao


This sweet sticker book is probably the best choice. It has been retrofitted with all the hottest Internet phrases.


Sticker book – 28rmb


Notebooks are also a great choice. A great way to keep your new hanzi straight.lilei-and-hanmeimei-notebooks

Sweet Notebooks – 45rmb


You can also show off your language-learning buddies with this shirt. Guaranteed to make you as happy as this girl is. 


Han Meimei T-shirt – 199rmb

Well, they aren’t Palanka and Gubo, but they are pretty damn close.


  • Micah Sittig said:

    李磊 (Google Pinyin’s first choice for “lilei”)

  • The Field Guide (author) said:

    Thanks for the heads up on Lelei’s proper name! Google Pinyin has learned what’s important.

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