The Only Redhead in Taiwan has an interesting post about his experience learning Chinese using children's books. I can certainly attest that children's books are an excellent way to learn Chinese. Comic books are also a great resource if all those folk tales get a bit too much - I recommend The Crayon Kid and Doraemon to start you off.
The story about an elephant taking a dump reminds me of a picture book I borrowed recently from the local library for my son which was entitled "Selling Fragrant Farts". Seriously. I was so charmboozled I took some pictures of the cover and some of the lavishly illustrated pictures inside and posted them on Flickr.
A browse through the titles of kids books in almost any library or book store in Taiwan will tell you that Taiwanese picture book writers are not afraid to play to kids' fascination with pee and poo. Selling Fragrant Farts is actually not a bad little story all in all. If I were a Mandarin teacher I'd have that on the list of required reading for sure!
Update: Mark points out in the comments that he has come across the same story by a different publisher. Here's his post: 賣香屁
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