Friday, November 6, 2015

(Rave Reads) Seeing Double

When the National Library Board (NLB) decided to celebrate its 20th anniversary, we are allowed to borrow 20 books per member till January next year. That means 60 books (including magazines and videos) for our family. Now that the number of loans allowed had almost triple, we realised that we borrowed extra copies more often then ever. Sometimes, we borrowed extra accidentally while others are borrowed deliberately.

Katie's London Christmas (2 books of the same title and edition)
story and pictures by James Mayhem

We borrowed 2 of these by mistake. Knowing Little One loves the Katie series, I would borrow if I laid my hands on any stories which I had not read to her. This was one of those books.

We were first introduced to James Mayhem's book when we read the Ella Bella series. Soon after, we started to read and enjoy the Katie series. James Mayhew's first children's book was Katie's Picture Show in 1989. It was one of the best introduction to art for children. A series of titles that followed introduced an artist or art movement. These series started with Grandma taking a nap while Katie explored around in the art museum. Then, she would somewhat walk into the paintings or exhibits and start interacting with the people or creatures in the pictures. James Mayhem also wrote then followed by adventures to countries like London and Scotland where sights were introduced.

Katie's London Christmas (edition 2014) seemed to the only book that does not involve Grandma. Instead, she and her brother, Jack, experienced a wonderful, amazing adventure with Father Christmas to  deliver his presents to some special places across London. Although there was only one special place (for the present delivery) mentioned in the book, a number of London's famous places were mentioned. You can also take the opportunity to learn about London if you have yet to read Katie in London. The trip was magical for both Little One and I. This book is definitely good for Christmas. The illustrations were fantastic and almost magical!

Katie and the Dinosuars (2 books of the same title but different editions)
story and pictures by James Mayhem

This is one of the other Katie title which I borrowed twice accidentally, yet again but ... but... I shall let you in a little secret. This 2 books are different editions. One in 2004 and the other in 2014, (10 years apart) Guess what? Some of the punctuation are amended for better effect. Some sentences from the old edition are omitted and replaced with new ones which made the story concise.

We are not experts of dinosaurs. In fact, the only dinosaur whose name I remember is T -Rex. These books gave us a great introduction to these "terrible lizards" as we joined Katie on her adventure in the Natural History Museum. We noted Brontosaurus (2004) became Apatosurus. (2014). I googled to see whether there was a change of name and found an interesting science fact. You may want to click here to check.

A list of dinosaurs mentioned in the books were listed on the last pages. We noted even the pronunciation for these dinosaurs seemed different. The 2004 version included the meaning of these dinosaurs whereas the 2014 version does not.

We love how Katie for being so kind-hearted to help the lost dinosaur to search for his family. The scariest part was when they met T-Rex. This story is enjoyable and definitely very suited for children who loves dinosaurs. The illustrations for the cover of both versions are different, I prefer the older one as Katie looked like she was having so much fun!

The lamb and the butterfly/ 小羊和蝴蝶 (2 different languages)
story by Arnold Sundgaard ; pictures by Eric Carle.

What would happen when a lamb meets a butterfly in the middle of a Meadow? The lamb, being kind and curious, kept asking the butterfly a lot of questions. She would like the butterfly to stay with her. Being different, the butterfly, in the end, bidded goodbye to the lamb. The lamb did not insist because she finally realised that if the butterfly did not leave, he may die. The butterfly's solitary style of living indeed is different from the lamb who loves to live in a group. She had learnt to respect and accept different ways of living.

I actually borrowed the Chinese version 小羊和蝴蝶 first. I only realised that the illustrations were by Eric Carle then, I went ahead and borrowed the English copy because I like to see what is the difference between the 2 copies. Both books have some rhythmic repetitive phrases which Little One loves to repeat with zest. We also learnt the names of different flowers in the 2 languages.

Lost in the Gardens/ Lost in the Secret Garden (2 similar titles and both are in Singapore Collection)

What is Singapore Collection? They are books that cover the history, political & economic history, literature as well as social-cultural history of Singapore.

It was a coincident that both books are about gardens in Singapore. The first one set in Gardens by the Bay while the second in Jacob Ballas Children's Garden. Both books focus on the adventures the little people are experiencing. In both books, you get to know what the gardens has to offer, especially useful if you have not been in them.

Lost in the Gardens
story and pictures by J.H. Low

Mei had waited very long for this day to visit Gardens by the Bay! However, she was soon separated from her mother. Luckily, she met Wise Wee the bear who help her search for her mom. We were given an educational tour around the Gardens. The description about the various places in the garden is appropriate.

This book has pretty charming illustrations. One look at the cover, you know instinctively the story is set in Gardens by the Bay. I particularly love the illustration of the Supertree Groves. I could also feel the heavy mood of Mei when she lost her mother. She was entirely blue and grey. Little One particularly love the look of Mom. She had a small head which is quite disproportional to her body.

The only little mistake about the book is that Mei lost her Mom at the MRT station, how did she manage to walk all the way to the Garden? She could have ended in Marina Bay Sands.

Lost in the Secret Garden
story by Adeline Foo and pictures by Miel

Written by Adeline Foo, the author of Diary of Amos Lee, which was one of the national best seller. Including this, Little One and I had read only 3 of her books. This book is part of the rainforest friends series and it was our first exposure to the series.

Ben and his family were at the park. He was put in charge of Jeremy, his younger brother, who loved to run very fast. Hence, Ben and his sister , Tessa, had to chase after him. That was how they stumbled upon a secret garden. They went on exploring the garden, which was fun with treehouse, maze and lots of flora and fauna, including Ben's favorite Camy. Although the story is set in the Children's Garden, the story did not mention so. This I find it clever because by not mentioning that in the story, it could be any park in the world. (Children's Garden is pretty famous among parents and children in Singapore. It is quite impossible for it to be secret. )

You'll get to know more about rainforest facts, learning to protect the environment and author's reflection at the back of the book.

Linking with :

Growing with the Tans


  1. Wow, so many great reads! Looks like I need to head to the library again really soon. I didn't know that the brontosaurus was recently renamed! I think my son will really enjoy Katie and the Dinosaurs. Thanks for sharing and linking up!

    1. Yes, Adeline! You need to go again! Plenty of good reads!


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