About Me

Avid arts-goer, voracious reader and mum to young bookworm who loves going to the theatre.


Entries in children's books (3)


Singapore children's books: 10 Sleepless Sheep for Woolly Nights by Linda Yew

For the last few weeks, I've been debating the book I would pick first to review among those hundred-odd books in English for children published in Singapore. We own a few of them, have borrowed many more from the library, and love a fair number of them.

My four-year old daughter thankfully made that choice for me today. The last book she chose tonight to read is also one of her all-time favourites - Linda Yew's delightful counting book 10 Sleepless Sheep for Woolly Nights (2008, Straits Times Press)

Linda is a teacher but there is no preachy tone or message in this book about counting down from 10 sheep to none. In fact, she ventures boldly forth in rhyme. Rhyming is a skill that a writer either has or doesn't - Linda thankfully falls in the former category, turning something as prosaic as counting into a flight of fantasy filled with jewel-like colours, cotton candy, bubbles and birds. In this book, however, the rhyme has to play second fiddle to the illustrations - gorgeous and whimsical, but full of detail, offering so many treasures if one only cares to look closer. Just like the works of great picture book illustrators such as Axel Scheffler.

Our favourite frame is the one of seven sheep and their rainbow showers bearing all sorts of little treats. There is only one reference to Singapore or the region and it isn't forced at all - as it should be. Still, I always crack a smile when a Rafflesia makes an appearance in a reference to pretty flowers.

The paperback format works for the book which is slightly bigger than your usual paperback picture book but it's fairly bendy as a result and has stood the test of many readings really well. The layout with pictures bleeding over into two sides also works well with little detail getting lost in the fold. The graphic designer and publishers definitely got it right with this one.

Overall, it's a great little book that Singapore can be proud to call its own. It does what it sets out to do really well. Counting is so vanilla pudding but here it's a silky flan with caramel bits hidden inside. This a book that could travel and appeal to preschoolers coming to terms with numbers everywhere. I'd even venture to say it definitely sits up there with any of the best in terms of concept and execution.

10 Sleepless Sheep for Woolly Nights by Linda Yew

ISBN: 978-981-4266-02-4
Format: Paperback, 28pp
Rating: *****
NB: I'm going to be rating them on a scale of one to five stars with five being a must-have.


Blog on books for Asian children

In the dying moments of AFCC, I met with the amazing Tarie Sabido who blogs over at Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind about "children's and young adult blog about books set in Asia and books with Asian characters (regardless of where they are published and whether or not their authors and illustrators are Asian), and Asian authors and illustrators (no matter where they are in the world)". That is quite a charter and the site is a labour of love indeed. It is also a must-read for parents or educators looking for great stories to share with kids.

Tarie has also published a blow-by-blow report about the goings-on at AFCC for those who weren't there. See what I mean about doing what the mainstream media isn't?


A world of ideas at AFCC

My head is buzzing, buzzing, buzzing after three days of talking books at the inaugural Asian Festival of Children’s Content. So many interesting and lovely people, so many fascinating books and ideas to think about. It was intense yet fun being in a creative crucible with like-minded people bumping into you all the time. In fact, my head was so buzzed that I couldn’t sleep Saturday night. Alright, it may have been that Mars bar I ate after dinner. Tossed and turned for a while, then decided to get up and write about three crammed pages of notes out of my brain before my eyes grew heavy. If you have anything to do with books and content for children, I'd highly recommend taking part next year.

One of the ideas that grew out of AFCC – during a discussion at the very last fest session! – was a blog about Singapore children’s books given that the mainstream media (MSM) pointedly ignores this category. There’s a significant number of books being published every year in the children’s books category – a bulk of them as a result of the First Time Writers & Illustrators Initiative that jumpstarted my own writing for children, but hey, if no one is going to talk about it in the MSM, let’s do it ourselves. As a public service, I volunteered to restart blogging, something I haven't done for a while at Mamasez, to review Singapore children's books. Et voila, here I am!

Happy mother's day everyone!