Thursday, May 27, 2010

Review Thursday: Ah Fu The Rickshaw Coolie and The Wildlife Watcher

Ah Fu The Rickshaw Coolie
By Choong Kwee Kim
ISBN 978 983 3698 47 9
Published by MPH 2007
32 pages
For kids of all ages
Price: RM15.90

Written and illustrated by Kwee Kim, a journalist living in Penang, this little book is a real treasure.

Apart from being a really fun story about how Ah Fu manages to be let off with all sorts of fines for breaking traffic laws, this story is written in short prose but set out like poetry; it's not just attractive to look at but the
frequent rhymes make it perfect for reading aloud.

Also, as the story is cast in the early 20th century, you can have endless discussions about the different ways the characters are dressed.  Be prepared to explain what a bustle is for!

HEY GUYS PLEASE LISTEN TO MY RADIO INTERVIEW TODAY AT 2PM!!! It's online at live streaming at 2PM Malaysia time (7AM London, 8AM Madrid, 9AM Dammam, 2AM Detroit/New York, 4PM in Sydney, and Wed 11PM in LA).  I'll be talking about my book, Logomania.

The Wildlife Watcher
By Choong Kwee Kim
ISBN 978 983 3698 79 0
Published by MPH 2008
32 pages
For kids of all ages
Price: RM15.90

Although it's written very simply, this is a much more grown-up tale.

It starts when the village chief's daughter  (who remains nameless; shades of Rebecca?) shivers as she feels something that will "sweep across the land and take everything away". A quiet look at Malaysia's bountiful nature leads her to the conclusion that she's going to have to stand up for what is right.

This tale without a conclusion is full of atmosphere, something unusual in most books for little kids.  It is also ideal for starting discussions about the importance of maintaining the natural world in a very local context.  Watcher is clever, not pedantic, and the illustrations are striking.

Ah Fu and Watcher are as different from each other as pineapple is to a mango but they're both equally fascinating.  Kids will love them!


Cezar and Léia said...

Thanks for all reviews and good luck with your interview today!
mommy Léia and little LUNA

Mishkat said...

The books look wonderful - the illustrations are lovely! (I do not have children, but have a lot of children's books around because I like them so much.)

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Aw darn, I missed your radio interview! I am so sorry! But the book reviews are great. Feel like reading both. Rare that a local writer produces such gems.