Raising a Reader – 26 June 2017

On 26 June 2017 we made a trip to Pasir Ris Public Library. Our second visit with Evangeline. We kind of know what to expect and we have controlled schedule of Evangeline’s naptime. People would say it’s a parenting, but in reality it’s a tactical mission. You need to get in and get out at the allocated time before the bomb explodes baby is cranky.

Go out from Pasir Ris MRT, go in to White Sands, level 4. Get out from the lift. Turn left. There’s your library. You will not miss it. It’s like half the floor is a library. Inside your shopping mall. What a marvel of convenience. Lovely. Go inside the library. Turn to your right. There’s a huge children section. You will not miss it. There are a lot of children there. And occassional sleeping creepy uncle. Don’t disturb them.

If you are worthy and observant, you will see one nook containing the secret stash of treasures. Comic books. It’s mostly Marvel’s and DC’s. So when I saw a boy putting down a Mutanimals and whine “Mummy I can’t find Spiderman”, I politely offer the mother to help her son finding out which shelves are Spiderman books located, while swiftly took the Mutanimals book. Poor boy doesn’t know good stuffs.

Fast forward. So today is 10th July 2017 and I just returned the 4 books I borrowed from the library on 26 June 2017.

  1. Five Little Ducklings Go to Bed
  2. Waiting for baby
  3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. New animated adventures. Volume six
  4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Mutanimals

The due date is still good one week but we have finished reading it and here’s the review.

Five Little Ducklings Go to Bed

A book by Carol Roth, Sean Julian. The story is extremely simple. Mother duck ask five ducklings to go to bed and each page explain the sequence. From playing, cleaning up the toys, taking a shower, and some of the ducklings refuse to sleep, the mother duck angry, and the ducklings are sorry, and they are sleeping. Simple plot.

The colours and illustrations are nice. Evangeline likes it. She will read it three time every night for the first week we are borrowing it. For the second week she kind of lost interest because she already knew what’s happening on the next page. She can read the book and tell Papa what’s happening on each page. So it’s a good story telling. Sometime in the middle of story telling she will be distracted by some objects she recognized. I also noticed she string longer sentences and she’s placing her adjective correctly before noun (i.e. green hat, purple clothes, etc). This is extremely important before we mix it up with our mother tongue Bahasa Indonesia, because in our language, the adjective come after the noun (kursi merah, baju baru, dll).

One of the thing I like about this book is the replay value (sorry if I use video game terms in this article. Replay value means the potential of the game/books to be re-played or re-read after first completion). After the major storyline of the ducklings go to sleep, we use it for activity books by asking our daughter to point objects like “Where’s the duckling with the green hat?” to asking them an open question like “What are the ducklings doing?”. Evangeline can answer from simple pointing, to an elaborate sentence like “I think the green clothes duck is jumping and the and the and the red hat duck is bathe already and then drink susu and want to sleep. Mama I want to drink susu please.”

It also expands vocabulary, we taught her the word Hula hoop because one of the duckling was playing hula hoop. And on most of the pages there’s a small insect (looks like a short caterpillar) for us to play “bug spotting”. It’s just like Where’s Waldo game inside a story book. I don’t know whether it’s intended by the author but it’s a fun game for me and Evangeline.

“Papa look! It’s kupuk!”
“Kutu, nak. Kutu.”

Waiting for Baby

A book by Rachel Fuller. I can’t say that this is a very good book. It’s not a bad book. But borrowing it together with the Five Little Ducklings Go to Bed makes it pale in comparison. However, there is a purpose in borrowing this book. First, let’s start about what the book is about. The book is a short story about a pregnant lady, with a daughter, telling the daughter that there is a baby inside the mother.

Each of the pages shows the daily life of a mother with a daughter. The mother is pregnant with another kid (gender undescribed). At one page it also shows the mother undergo USG scan and the daughter is watching the baby in the black and white monitor. During the final two pages, the father and mother left the girl with an older person (presumably nanny or grandmother) for the delivery of the baby. And the last page is the family of four (father, mother, daughter, and baby).

This book illustrate the normal life. But that’s where it shines. It prepares the daughter for what to come (hopefully!). As a couple who want to prevent siblings rivalry as much as possible, we want Evangeline to love her younger sibling. As we read the book, we name the character in the book as Papa, Mama, and Angel. She took it quite well, and we are blessed that she understands.

As we are showing how the daughter in the book sit together with the mother on the sofa instead of sitting on ther mother’s laps. She said.

“Mama belly is big. Angel no sit on mama belly. Angel sit next to mama.”

So this is a purpose driven book, and should be treated and reviewed as such. As for illustration, it conveys the message it intends to convey. Replay value is minimal but we don’t really need to replay it until the next kid come along, do we? So if you have any book recommendation for getting the first kid ready for the arrival of the second kid, do let me know in the comment section.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. New animated adventures. Volume six

Raising a reader is not complete if the reader you raised is not trained in the way of ninjitsu. I’ve been introducing TMNT since Evangeline was 0 months old. The theme song from 1985 TV series was practically embedded in her childhood memory. “Turtles” was one of her first few words. I find TMNT is good for early literacy because it’s colour coded. I teach colour as we read the books.

Evangeline is now 2 years 3 months and she’s too young to understand the plot of the story. So there are several mini stories in this book.

Natural Enemies. I know that Evangeline is significantly early in her speech development, but it still surprised me when I heard her repeating after me the name of the villain Baxter Stockman. Toddlers are supposed to blend consonant (consonant digraphs include bl, br, ch, ck, cl, cr, dr, fl, fr, gh, gl, gr, ng, ph, pl, pr, qu, sc, sh, sk, sl, sm, sn, sp, st, sw, th, tr, tw, wh, wr), between the age of 3 and 4. So she’s really early speaker. Instead of getting the story of how the turtles obstruct the robbery attempt of Baxter Stockman and how the latter eventually team up with Spider Bytez, Evangeline is more interested in the characters. From this mini series she recognized Baxter Stockman, Leo (from the blue outfit, other turtles’ name still not yet memorized the association with their colours), green ball (spit of Spider Bytez), and she’s spotting moons on every panel where the turtles have a major fight with Baxter Stockman – Spider Bytez duo. Kids really see the world from different point of views.

Cuteagen. Funny little story about how Michelangelo turnedto younger Mike because of Donnie’s chemical compounds. It turned to be in Donnie’s dream. Either that or Splinter has some serious time and space altering techniques.

Tag! The whole short story revolves in first person view of the “it” in the tag running and chasing game. As they tag the next person, the view also changes. Other than the drawing style, I found the way each turtles play the game of Tag reflects their characters. Raph is tagged first by Leonardo and he follow trails of Donatello. Knowing that it is a decoy, Raph tagged hiding Donatello. This shows how the brothers really know each other. Donnie is the smart one and would not leave a trail, Raphael saw the trail and knew it is an intended to lead him to the wrong direction. Next, Donnie again use his brain and using pizza as a bait instead of chasing aimlessly. As expected, Michelangelo can’t resist the temptation and as Mikey took the pizza, Donnie tagged him.

Favorite Haunt. Mikey is skipping his patrol duty purposely to watch his TV series about paranormal activities. His borthers want to give him a lesson by scaring him with their makeshift ghost props. Evangeline like the illustration on this series and keep asking Mama to show him the white monster. Which is actually the turtles brothers under the bedsheets. “Mama I want to see the white monster.” is the phrase we heard repetitively for the past two weeks.

From here to Sewerternia. This is a short story about Mikey’s imagination in his fairy tales land. I could really see the child in his character. Sometime I wonder what is in my daughter’s imagination as she is playing pretend with her dolls.

Acting out. Another story of Mikey’s wild imagination. Only this time his brothers play along and assume a role in their play (signified by floating head on top of each turtle’s character). Not much of interest shown by Evangeline on this arc.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Mutanimals

I know Old Hob, Slash, Herman, Mondo Gecko, and Pigeon Pete may not be the ideal characters to teach our kids about life values. But Mutanimals carry weights in its storyline. They are just misunderstood creatures who sometime sway to their natural instincts. When they attacked Null, the lab perceived them as terrorists. But actually who made them this way? They are mutant because they were the animals underwent the horrible experiments in that lab. So their noble purpose is to prevent further animal mutation experiment. But their way is a bit too extreme, blowing stuffs and endangering innocents. The dialogue is very witty. I appreciate every thought the IDW team put into this comic and stemming out from TMNT, who would foresee that the characters can have such interesting side-storyline.

“Papa the big turtle is angry.”

Evangeline can empathize when Slash goes berserk in the train car and making a wreck of the Null’s forces. Perhaps because Evangeline can relate. She berserks, too, when forced against her will.

Conclusion.

Overall this four books make our little reader happy, because she thought she has new collections. She repeatedly ask us to read the Five Little Ducklings book and we also relentlessly tried to brainwash her about the baby sister she’s about to have. For TMNT stuffs, let’s say it’s just a way of life.

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