Raising a Reader – 10 Aug 2017

We have established a bed time routine and reward system. For good behaviour, a new book will magically appear after bath time. We will read four books before Evangeline goes to sleep. On a day where she listen and obey us, three of them will be old books (our own books) and one of them will be new books (borrowed from library). New means she never saw it before. It could be tattered and in a sorry state, but as long as it is alien to her, it’s new okay.

What does it mean to us? It means we have to be ready with more books and the fact that she longer has separation anxiety with the books, we can return the library books without much wailings. Yeah, the first few episodes she still doesn’t understand the concept of borrowing and she refuses to return the library book. It has to be magically disappear when she sleeps. But now she knows that in order to get the new books, the old books have to go. So here are the four books I borrowed on 10th August 2017.

I love you, little pumpkin!
Sandra Magsamen has a special way to present her book that I can’t decipher. My daughter love this book and choose this book from the stacks instinctively. I don’t know whether it’s the colour contrast, or maybe there’s special soft materials on the cover, or both. It’s a flap book with halloween theme, so on each page there is some object covering someone. You still can see a part of that someone hiding or peeking behind the object, and when you open the flap, you can see kids wearing animal costumes, because, halloween, right? Anyway I found someone who video the flap book here.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s ABC book
It’s just an alphabet book from TVHC’s franchise. One page one object with words initial by the alphabet letter running ascending. Nothing fancy. Good to increase vocabulary and object recognizing though. Don’t buy, just borrow. Evangeline memorize everything by three times going through it. I’m going to have a heart ache if I buy books that only be read thrice.

Hurry up! = Dépêche-toi! = ¡Apúrate!
This book by Anne Sophie Tilly is in black and white. Each pages we are shown an animal. The graphic is on the minimalistic style, borderline symbolic. There is no story, only the name of the animals in three language. English, French, and Spanish, which explain the title in trilingual. I think this is a good book to expose young readers that there are more than one language in the world, and some words mean the same, but in different language. As Evangeline has the knack of language and is considered a healthy multilingual baby, I would say this book is behind her current ability. It is recommended to have this book at younger age, perhaps when we started our raising a reader campaign. I love the multilingual idea, but am not particularly fond of the illustrations. I always thought that kids love colours, so black and white is not really in line with my beliefs.

Hippo is on holiday : a flap book about counting
Don’t be deceived by the title. Even though Matt Mitter tell you this is a book about Hippo on holiday, inside is a collection of many different animals. It consists of 10 pages, each page representing a number, so it’s practically a counting book. Every page will have different number sorted in ascending sequence. I still could remember there are four giraffes under the hot sun, and when you flip the flap, they are going on holiday and riding a sled on the snow cliff. Yes. It is a flap book. A counting flap book. What’s not to love?

The cartoon is cute and does anthropomorphize the animals (giraffe wearing sweaters etc). Evangeline likes flap books in general, and she can tell us all the animals and accesories objects around the page. I would say this book is worth to buy.

Newtonian physics for babies
Garnered a lot of mixed reactions from my facebook pages. People must think that I’m crazy to introduce Physics to my daughter at such an early age. But actually the book is very simple and suitable for young reader. It shows a circle, and refer it as a mass. It shows an arrow, and refer it as a force. It also shows dropping apple, and a sketch of a person supposedly Isaac Newton. Nothing too serious, really. But if that guy invent the law of gravity, I think he deserves a book about him.

That’s all for this episode’s review. We shall move on to the next batch soon!

Raising a Reader – 23 July 2017

Sunday 23 July 2017 we went for another library trip. This time we again let Evangeline choose the books and read it to her in the library while Mama is browsing through books to be brought home. Papa had fun reading to her about the cat, which the title escaped my memory at the moment, but it’s black and white in graphic and in every page we tried to spot the missing cat. Where’s Waldo style but in noir. Yeah, you could probably find all sort of genre in children’s book.

Evangeline is fond of a book from Happy Feet animation, about the little penguin who can dance. But the condition of the book is already tattered beyond repair. I don’t know what has the book went through from previous library member. We left the cat book and the penguin book in the library when Mama is ready. Without further ado, here’s the loot from this episode.
Elmer and the rainbow
The book by David McKee tell the story about the colourful elephant who save the day by giving out its colour to restore fading rainbow colour. I originally thought that this was another nonsense children fantasy book. But the message at the end of the story blew me away. As Elmer make the great sacrifice to restore rainbow’s colour, the other animals were wondering, will Elmer turn grey like other elephants? Spoiler alert: Elmer emerge victorious retaining its colourful shades because (quoted brutally from the book) “Some things you can give and give and give and not lose any.” like … love. This one sentence alone qualifies this book as worth to buy. This book has nice graphic, decent plot, and strong moral of the story. I would recommend this book for raising a reader.

Ollie’s Easter eggs
Ollie
Okay I need to tell you a background story about these books. Back before we are introduced to this library realm, we bought our books. Yes. We bought. Since we are not exactly rich people, we source for the cheapest option and it turned out buying from Amazon is cheaper alternative, but we need to collate few orders to optimize the free shipping. Mama has her support group of Mami Mami Malang (the M cube) to do this. And one of our purchase is the book by Olivier Dunrea, Gossie the Little Gosling.

At the back cover of this book, there is a list of other characters (other ducklings/ goslings) with their respective names. Evangeline loves this Gossie book (the little gosling who loves to wear red boots). And at the end of the story, she will point to the back cover and identify all the other characters (not mentioned anywhere in the book itself). I finally realize that this is their marketing ploy when I saw one of the characters, Ollie, has a standalone books.

These two books, tell the story about Ollie, another fowl. I love their depiction of the animal doing daily activities, expressing their emotions, and their clean graphic on white background is not too overwhelming for my 2 years old. The vocabulary used is quite simple. If you want to teach your kids to read, I recommend this series. It is awesome. After the third book (I have my own Gossie, and this two Ollie), you could somehow see a pattern. And pattern is good. It let us know that if your kid like this three books, chances are the next time you see Olivier Dunrea books, it will be another success.

Home sweet home
Do you know what flap book is? If you don’t, let me explain to you about my little discovery. Normally book will be flipped page by page till the end, right? Imagine there’s a little page inside your page, that can be flipped open revealing more content. Genius. It’s like my office job filing A3 drawings to A4 files.

The book by Sarah Powell, narrates the story of little owl who travels through certain places (i.e. mountains) and when you open the flap on the mountain page, you will see mountain animals. And few other places. Evangeline loves flap book. We read it so often she can tell me what’s behind the flap before I flip it.

Taffy Saltwater’s yummy summer day
The book by Michael Paraskevas didn’t really leave impression to me. It’s colourful. About a girl (Taffy) who went to the beach, meet certain other characters, do stuffs, the end. There’s some bunny ragdolls and beach ball in the story but I can’t recall what’s the significance. Colourful and picture is cute for kids. We do not spend so much time reading this book, Evangeline does not favour this book over other options.

Five little ducklings go to school
Still remember previously we review the other Carol Roth’s book Five Little Ducklings Go to Bed? This is another book by the same author written on the same style. We expect a good feedback and it really delivers. Same style, but different theme. This time instead of going to bed, the ducklings are going to school. And the replay value factor? It’s still there. The “bug spotting” activity is back! Apparently these five little ducklings are to be differentiated by their apparels, I remember there’s another ducklings with green hat earlier in another books. I will try to evaluate this if I come across another Carol Roth’s book.

Two
Numbers. I love numbers since I was a kid. Besides reading, I love math. What could be better way to induce this interest to my daughter than reading a book about numbers? Two is a book by Kathryn Otoshi. The characters are integer number from 0 to 9. The story revolves around the life of 2. There are some gang fight between Odd and Even. Each number is a character with different colours. I read this story to Evangeline but she just spotted and pointed at the number and shouting their respective colours. She still does not understand the storyline yet. Overall great book but maybe 2 years old is too young. The text is rhyming which on some pages felt a bit forced to fit, but good try. I will borrow this again when she’s older.

How to raise a mom
Okay now this is a fun book. This story tells children how to behave, but in different perspectives. For example, it instruct the reader to bring their mom to playdate to meet other moms. We know in fact we bring our kids to playdate. But they twist all the thing to revolve around the kids’ world. Another example is about waking up. To wake up a mom, kid need to be gentle and kiss the mom. I love how they depict this perspective and on the back cover I saw there are more of this similar book under the same author. If it’s available in library I wil snatch more of this Jean Reagan ‘s book.

Funny jokes from Japan
Funny jokes from China
I also borrow two books for myself. It’s a compilation of short funny stories. These books by Kum Fatt Chong are wordy, with few graphics on every several pages. I didn’t get to finish both books. Evangeline did flip a few to find which pages have pictures on it. It’s not a bad book. It’s a nifty collection of short jokes so I think the quality of the stories got nothing to do with the author. Overall, good read for travelling companion, but I won’t buy something I can easily browse over the internet.

Newtonian Physics

Reading Newtonian Physics for Babies by Chris Ferrie.

“Gravity is the force that keep us on the ground.” 
“Papa who is this?”
“This is Newton.”
“Newton.”
“Newton invented the law of gravity.”
“Papa I want Snoopy.”
“I don’t have Snoopy. I have Newton.”
“I don’t want Newton. I want Snoopy.”

Pendidikan sejak dini memutuskan mata rantai penyebarluasan teori bumi datar. Bumi tidak datar melainkan berbentuk bulat. Barang yang ada di permukaan bumi bulat tidak jatuh karena ada gaya gravitasi. Yaelah anakku aja tau, masbro.

Raising a Reader – 10 July 2017 & 15 July 2017

Evangeline had shown a good interest on reading so Papa borrowed more books for her on 10th July 2017. Six books to be exact. Evangeline was excited when Papa brought back the book from library and for the whole week she was telling everyone that the books were borrowed from library and she appreciated it. So to make her weekend awesome, we brought her to library on 15th July 2017. Once we were there, we borrowed two more books, not too many but just to make a point that every library trip we will have something to bring home. So total 8 books (6 from 10 July and 2 from 15 July)

The first 6 books were chosen by Papa during his workday lunchtime, so pardon if there’s insufficient research. Papa went to Bishan Library which is about 5-10 mins drive from workplace, and there’s a large section of children book in the Basement 1. Due to limited time constraint, Papa just skim through the books with decent quality (a lot of children books were tattered, some due to wear and tear and some due to .. well .. you know, kids. Barbarians.)

I will review the first three books at once because it’s of the same author. Same style.

Good night!
Thank you!
Hi!
This three books by Ethan Long have animals illustration with their respective sounds they make. On the page with a dog, you will see the dialog baloon says “Woof“, and for cat it will say “Meow” and many more animals. On the final page it will be a boy or a girl saying “Good Night” or “Thank you” depending on the book title. It’s a good book for young readers because the colour is bright and the way they illustrate the animals is simplistic but not overly simplified. You can see it’s dog or cat even though the picture is quite basic or flat. I will recommend this book, but if you want to buy just buy one of the three because they are esentially the same. I would recommend the Thank You one because it promotes interaction between two animals. Animal A giving something to animal B and animal B say woof woof or chirp chirp means thank you. If what I write in previous sentence does not make sense, go have a children, it’s a perfectly understandable sentence for parents of toddlers.

Now we have a baby

A book by Lois Rock to prepare our Evangeline for the impending doomsday saga of the childbirth. Frankly, guys, we still haven’t figured out what’s gonna happen during the delivery of the young one. Who will take care of Evangeline? Do we bring her to hospital? What happened next? Ok anyway this is about the book review.

Like I said in my previous Raising a Reader post, this is the purpose driven book. We borrow this book to prepare Evangeline for the upcoming baby. The book is great in conveying the message but illustration wise I still prefer Waiting for Baby by Rachel Fuller. Anyway we have another book I will review next that will make these two pale in comparison.

Little Miss, Big Sis

This book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal takes the cake. Same like Now We Have a Baby by Lois Rock and Waiting for Baby by Rachel Fuller, it’s a purpose driven book. With a clean white background on every page, it tells the story of new experience of single daughter with the baby. The story is told in easy simple rhyming sentence. And the illustration is nice. I said “nice” even though it’s an understatement, because if I wrote “magical” I will sound like an unreasonable forumers mama. Yes, I read motherhood forums. Don’t go to breastfeeding vs formula thread, it’s a wild jungle. You’ve been warned.

Find the Circle

Out of the books I borrowed for Evangeline, maybe this is the most ordinary. Every page there is a circular item (ball, watermelon, clock, etc). The caveat is to have a replaya value, the parents must be creative to explain about the things other than the focal circular subject at every page. For example, Evangeline did learn new things like traffic lights. Red circle means stop, green circle means go. Overall this book by Britta Teckentrup is a good book but not something I will buy. But maybe that’s because I’m stingy.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles : Ghostbusters

When you asked me how to teach your child to read. Or actually to do anything. I will tell you that children mimic us. So if you want them to be polite, you have to be polite too. At least in front of them. Evangeline doesn’t need to know how menacing I am in my workplace. In order to let her read or have passion for reading, I also play my part by pretending to read in front of her. But this play pretend wears off after a while because I can’t really pretend to like reading her books. The solution is to get my own books.

This book by IDW publishing imagines the crossover universe between TMNT and Ghostbusters. While I’m not a Ghostbusters fan so I can’t decide on that side, as a TMNT fans the story makes sense, about how Donnie’s teleportation device port them to different universe instead of different place. Bending the time space continuum they land to another type of New York where the Ghostbusters reside. The storyline is a bit too predictable and I don’t see any moral message unlike the previous Mutanimals (also by IDW) comic I borrowed. But the drawing and colouring is awesome. What I admire is how the people behind TMNT and Ghostbusters (Tom Waltz and Erik Burnham) can set aside the ego of each group and reunite them in one balanced story. I see it as something praisable coming from two giant franchise with massive universe. Despite the Turtles are transported to Ghostbusters universe, it doesn’t feel like it’s a Ghostbuster comic with guest starring TMNT, nor the other way around. The airtime is balanced, their role in the plot is balanced too. It can’t be helped that Donnie will be having the most airtime out of the four turtles in the dialogue balloon, because only he could speak Geek language with all these PhDs.

You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack

It’s a collection of comic strips from newspaper and magazine by cartoonist Tom Gauld. It’s supposedly a good book with good review from critics. It’s kind of hit or miss. There are some pages that I enjoyed the author’s point of view. I didn’t get the humor for most of the pages nor the message it’s trying to convey. Maybe I’m too dumb to understand. Or maybe it simply sucks.

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.

Raising a Reader (Prologue)

It is not the first time we went to the library. But it is the first time I borrow the book from the National Library in Singapore. Don’t judge me. For more than a decade I live in Singapore, I never borrow the books from the National Library because of the following reasons.

For the first four years, I lived in NTU, a university whose campus library has enough books.

After I graduated, I practically didn’t have time to read books. I was busy with works.

Soon enough, I enrolled in NUS for pursuing my Master Degree. Part time. The works still go on. So the abovementioned both reasons are becoming more valid than ever. My campus has enough books, and I don’t even have the time.

I, for my love of reading, still reading books but in different medium. Poisoned by Dina’s unparallelled persuasive skills, I bought a Kindle together with her in Qisahn few years back. Ever since, I’m stuck with ebooks mostly. Of where I get the ebooks from, you don’t want to ask me. Because you won’t believe pirates or anyone with questionable morals anyway. Yes. It’s not good. I’m sorry.

But since my moral compass is not always skewed to the dark side, I registered online to be the National Library member anyway. Again, persuaded by Dina (she’s a primary school teacher, so persuasion is a must-have skill), I installed overdrive on my smartphone. And oh boy it’s so easy to borrow library e-books. And this time you don’t have to read with feeling guilty. Not that I felt guilty reading pirated books in the first place.

But that’s all about my reading habit. I read for my own pleasure. Until the little Evangeline came along. I and my wife both enjoy reading. We were the students who sit in the classroom reading school library book during recess, commonly mocked as a bookworms, and didn’t get invited to the running and jumping games because the other students know we weren’t interested. If that remind you of younger you, read on.

So we want to raise our kid to be mini-me, basically raising a reader. And screen exposure is not really good for babies. Especially after my daughter had slammed my Nexus 5 into oblivion. Trust me. Borrowing books is much safer. In order to do that we need to induce reading interest to our daughter, Evangeline.

Since she was few months old, her mother would give her books. There are few types of books suitable for little creatures. We gave Evangeline the following books.

Board books. It’s just a book with very thick pages. You can get it as cheap as SGD1-2 in book fair.

Cloth books. It’s just a book made of clothes. Mothercare sells it expensive, though. Like SGD 20.

The content does not really matter for Evangeline when she was under 1 year old. Our target is to make her interested in books. It helps that the parents read in front of her (newspaper, textbooks, magazines, etc) because Evangeline really like to mimic our action. We observed she copied us well, by flipping, reading (looking at the objects in the pages), and within two weeks of this intensive reading exercise, she could tell if her book is upside down. She will flip it back to upright position before continuing flipping the page.

I couldn’t really remember when it was, but definitely between 1 to 2 years old, she started to ask us to read books together with her, and she will point to objects inside the book and tell us its name (i.e. Star. Circle. Triangle. Heart). She also will spot star in other brochures, or heart in some baby stuffs logos.

Knowing that she already recognized objects, we hop on the learning train and go full impact on the reading program. Evangeline’s grandma supplied us with MakBook™, an activity cloth book made by Evangeline’s grandma. And within a week plus Evangeline had mastered the shape matching activites. Knowing the rate of her devouring books, we now have to resort to the public library.

We spent one day for a library visit to Pasir Ris Public Library. It’s not the nearest, but the nearest one, Tampines Regional Library, was not chosen for certain reasons.

Pasir Ris Public Library is located inside White Sands, a mall with spread of amenities to attend to berserk babies (changing diaper and nursing room) and to entertain panic mothers (restaurants, shops, and airconditoned environment).

Tampines Regional Library is located in Tampines New Town. Being a building on its own, you need to go out of the library from the airconditioned room to adjacent buildings. And Tampines has a lot more people than Pasir Ris. More people plus no aircon equals no.

Pasir Ris is where our swimming pool is located. When we want to save on our house electricity bills by turning off airconditioning in our rooms, but we also want to maintain our sanity, we just take a dip in the swimming pool. We don’t swim. We just submerge. It’s different. Ours takes minimum effort. So when the library is in the building next to the swimming pool, it’s a big plus.

Long story short, we went to the Pasir Ris Public Library, Evangeline enjoyed it a lot. She read (flipping and pointing objects she knew) and truly a reader. She will focus on her books at hand, and move on to next book once she finished. My wife want to borrow some books home, but I said perhaps next time, because we’re going to be overseas for a while and I don’t want to neither rush to read a book or be charged fine because of returning books late. So, borrowing books is for another time.