Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Island of Legends by Don Bosco

Don Bosco, the prolific author of children's books has got a new book hot off the press!

In the third instalment of "Lion City Adventures", we see the protagonist Claire, a member of the Lion City Adventure Club, discovering a lost treasure and learning about various historical and mythical characters in Singapore history through it. 

We learn about the adventures of the Sang Nila Utama, the great warrior Badang, the brave princess Radin Mas and many more.

I liked the story of the origins of Bukit Merah best but it unfortunately wasn't part of the main story but more of a sidebar as part of the notes at the end of the story. Perhaps it was too bloody for kids? 

In any case, I'm sure the activities located at the end of each chapter would be great fun for any kid who's reading the book. Apart from pictures to colour, there are more cerebral activities such as a word search to do and and a story to complete based on their vivid imaginations.

I think this is a perfect gift for any kid 7-12 years old this September holidays to reward them after a long term of work. They'd not only learn about some of Singapore's legends but have lots of fun at the same time!

You can get this book from Popular, Kinokuniya, LocalBooksAmazon or Book Depository.

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Soul Bare edited by Cara Sexton

This is a collection of 31 short narratives from the lives of different women and men revealing their deepest hardships and struggles. 

This is a most refreshing piece of work. Too often we hear testimonies from Christians of how God healed their baby or brought their friend's life back from the brink of death. Yet in this fallen world, people still die, mothers miscarry, relationships fall apart. This beautiful book shows how people negotiate the intersection of their faith and their traumatic experience.

My heart went out to Karissa Knox Sorrell as she recounted the death of her brother Will in "Wrestling with God in the Art House Theater".

Sarah Bessey, a notable blogger, speaks for all exhausted mothers in "Letters of Intention" where she took a walk with her toddler, leaving the rest of her kids at home with her husband. She reads a letter from a friend and is surprised to rediscover joy.

Stories after stories of hardship abound. 

Miscarriages. Abandonment. Cancer.

The survivors of these tragedies encountered God in various ways - through another person (or people), a letter, or even an inward whisper. 

As I read the numerous stories within these 200 pages, I felt like my faith was being built up. Jesus works through the broken, the sick, and the helpless today as he did in the past. 

If I have one complaint, it would be that the contributors are disproportionately women (I counted 2 male names).

It is a book most suitable for the commute for each story is short (3-5 pages) and can be completed within minutes.

I would recommend consuming this book in small doses, not for fear of suffering an overdose, but that you might finish the book too quickly. Good stuff like this should be savoured.

Disclaimer: The publisher sent me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Island in the Caldera by Lin Xueling

What would you do with 20% off Math Paper Press titles? Buy the book the owner's been talking about all the time! And that's just what I did.

I finished this easy-to-read book in 2 days. It is one interesting read. Although it started somewhat abruptly (didn't know what was going on, how they got in that locked room etc), the subsequent story flowed along rather nicely like a sweet bubbling stream.

I must say that that I loved the talking cat and kind Horbo (I'll let you find out what creature the latter is yourself). I wished I had a cat that could speak to me. In any case, I loved the food presented in the book. It goes without saying that I've not read a children's fantasy book that mentioned Nasi Lemak or Milo. It was a pleasant surprise. Authors should include more food in their novels. Helps me remember them.

The book is about Min Rui and her younger sister, Chloe, who both journey across fantastical lands and battle fearsome monsters together with two helpful companions. 

The handful of typos were a little disappointing. Not many, perhaps about 5 in the entire book, but still jarring nonetheless. 

Would have also loved to see more illustrations. The wonderful Stephanie Raphaela Ho drew the lovely pictures contained within the book and they were whimsical yet full of life. I'm sure kids will love the temporary tattoos and coloured stickers that come bundled together with the book.

In any case, it would make a great gift for young kids and even for older ones like me. I already know who I'm gonna buy an extra copy to gift to.

Can't wait for Volume 2!

Get your copy today from Books Actually!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

If you are like me, you've probably not been exposed to graphic novels much. The first one I read was The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye and I was blown away. Persepolis is my third graphic novel and I'm similarly impressed. 

This book is the memoir of a girl growing up in Iran as the Islamic revolution took place. Funny, honest, and tragic, I finished it in the span of a week. I must admit that the form helped. If this had been a novel instead being presented in the form of a comic, it certainly would have taken much longer. The simplicity of the drawings also made the serious themes so much easier to swallow.

If you don't know much about the Iranian revolution, this might be a good place to start. I highly recommend this book to the global citizen tired of reading long form articles.

You can get your copy from Amazon or Book Depository today! I got mine from Kinokuniya at Takashimaya.