Glad that many folks enjoyed the last post on books I found in the Singapore Collection of the Children’s Section in a local heartlands library.
I found yet more gems this time! I managed to go alone one afternoon, and was super duper pleased to be able to sprawl in front of those bookshelves for a long time, without having to keep one eye out for the kids.
The best part about children’s books is that they are short enough to read almost in their entirety before deciding whether they are deserving of being lugged home! And I was so happy to be able to finish reading those that appealed to me, but not have to borrow them if I know K and B would appreciate them less.
Four year old B loved “Hansel and Girl Girl” by Adrian Pang so much, that her whole face lit up when I showed her “Goh Bee Lock and the Three Boars” by KF Seetoh (top left) this time.
Personally, I enjoyed “Goh Bee Lock” even more than “Hansel”, which was already wickedly delightful. This is a bit of a spoiler but when I got to the twist where Goh Bee Lock did a Masterchef Junior, I nearly fell off my chair. A bit horrified, but ultimately I thought it was a GREAT story. The hubs pronounced the entire tale Very Weird, but four year old B said “I like that story! Mummy and I like strange stories.”
Apart from other David Seow and Lianne Ong books that we still hadn’t read, I thought “Little Wayang Kid”, a bilingual book by Raymond Tan was particularly meaningful. Winsome little curly-haired Raja develops a penchant for Chinese opera, and actually goes for classes!
I picked up some Chinese books by local authors too, and some of them are published separately in English and Chinese, whilst others are bilingual within the same copy.
Of these, 《贫穷的富小孩》stood out for me. Although it turned out to be something quite different from what I expected (some heart-wrenching story of emotional neglect or something), I still enjoyed it. I didn’t think the kids would understand it, but I liked lines like the one pictured below. 简单中带着一丝沧桑。你说对吗？
The illustrations from 《鹤于螃蟹》 were beautiful, but I found the storyline a little less absorbing. 《毛弟》is the Chinese translation of the Mooty series from my childhood, but the lengthy and small-sized text made it less suitable for my kids. It does come with 汉语拼音 though.
As I mentioned in the last post, I really appreciated Ken Spillman’s books, and managed to find a few more this time around. Apart from “Brandon’s Big Test “(which featured the virtue of “Reliability”), we also found “Tessa Stands Tall” (on “Justice”).
6.5 year old K loved reading these books by herself, since they are like chapter books with coloured illustrations. The writing style is engaging and not preachy, so the essence of the virtue comes across clearly through the story. He should write more to add to the current six books in the series!
We also found a Timmy and Tammy book by Ruth Wan that is slightly different from the rest featured in the last post. This is a Level 3 book titled “What is Singapore”, and I thought it brought about various aspects of our nationhood across very well.
Some parts even resonated with me as an adult. It mentions that “Singaporeans are like porcupines. We have spikes because we stand up for Singapore when we need to.” I thought that this was quite true, but perhaps “durians” would be even more apt? Just that a durian is perhaps slightly more inanimate, and wouldn’t be able to stand up in defence as readily! Haha.