Thursday, May 08, 2014

Book Box Thursday: Emma's Elephant & If I Were A Blue Kangaroo by David Seow

While we like to read books by authors such as Eric Carle and Julia Donaldson (classic names in children’s literary works), local authors occupy a significant spot in our home library too.

One local author we chanced upon recently is David Seow. Little did we know that Seow is an accomplished author of children’s books, with 30 titles under his belt. Some of them include There’s Soup on my Fly, The Littlest Emperor and Monkey: The Classic Chinese Adventure Tale.

For us, we had a fun time discovering two titles: Emma’s Elephant and If I Were A Blue Kangaroo.

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Both books are illustrated by Enrico Sallustio, and have a playful quality about them that appeals. Sallustio has successfully brought out the essence of the stories vividly, and together with Seow’s carefully worded text, brings the reader to Africa and a bouncy journey around the world. There is humour infused too in the illustrations. Think along the likes of monkeys wearing pants.

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Emma’s Elephant
A story of an invisible elephant who escaped from a group of chasing hunters in her home in the African plains, Emma’s Elephant chronicles the heartwarming relationship between a little girl and the elephant.

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Invisible due to her fear of the hungers, Ella the elephant learns to turn this flaw to her advantage. On a journey back to Africa in an attempt to save her friends, Ella and Emma (who remains hidden behind Ella’s big invisible floppy ears) meet the hunters again. She becomes frightened, but with encouragement from Emma, plucks up her courage and makes use of her special invisible ability to chase the hunters away.

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This is a valuable lesson that shows how every being is unique and no flaw is a flaw. It also teaches the value of determination, for without it, Ella would not be driven to save her friends. At the same time, Seow’s words reveal Emma’s ability to feel empathy for Ella’s feelings, and at the end of the story, empathy for other endangered animals like the panda and whale. He makes it easy to turn it into a conversation topic about empathy for the people around us.

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If I Were A Blue Elephant
This is a simple story rhyme that can prompt much pretend play. Though the text is simple, with one rhyming line for each illustration, the story successfully brings the reader on an imaginative journey around the world, with visits to the stars and the seas.

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It starts off simply enough too, from the perspective of a little toddler who wishes he was a blue kangaroo. The blue kangaroo too looks a little like the toddler.

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What’s endearing is the way this story ends. The toddler seems to be speaking to the reader, telling him or her that ‘I might not have a friend like you’, and that’s why the toddler does not want to be a blue kangaroo. I couldn’t help but go ‘aww…’.

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So how did it prompt pretend play? We pretended to be kangaroos, or any other animal, travelling on a boat, on an extra large surf board, a bi-plane with multiple seats or even a magic carpet. Sometimes, we even rode on a horse or a submarine. We visited different places, saw different animals, plants and sea creatures. Sometimes we even packed a picnic for our journeys.

Our verdict
EV clearly liked Emma’s Elephant. Perhaps, being older, she could understand the feelings of fear, joy and empathise better. AA liked the simplicity of If I Were A Blue Kangaroo. Often, he would hop and jump as I read, on pillows, off cushions, maybe imitating how the little toddler in the story hopped on a cloud.

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Sometimes, I feel like my heart is hopping out of my chest just watching him.

We have two copies each of Emma’s Elephant and If I Were A Blue Kangaroo to give away, kindly sponsored by the folks at Closetful of Books, and autographed by David Seow. Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to enter. They are all optional, but do give you more chances. Good luck!

Terms and conditions:
- Entries that do not fulfill the requirements stated will be disqualified without notice.
- Winners will be notified by email, through the email address provided in the Rafflecopter widgets.
- Winners must confirm by reply email, within three days. Otherwise, a new winner will be picked.
- This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only.
- Giveaway starts on 8 May and ends on 22 May (inclusive) at midnight.
- Winners will be announced on this post and my Facebook page by 30 May.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Autographed books
Thinking of buying either Emma’s Elephant and If I Were A Blue Kangaroo? Get them from Closetful of Books and have your very own copy autographed by David Seow! Just indicate in the comments box upon checkout, that the books were recommended by ToddlyMummy.

Disclaimer: We received a copy of Emma's Elephant and If I Were A Blue Kangaroo from Closetful of Books for review purposes. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions and images are my own.


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  1. Special invisible ability makes it interesting for the child to get interested in the book and it teaches the child to empathize and feel for others.

  2. I like that it teaches that if we try, we can turn our weakness into strength.

  3. The story which embodies perseverance and empathy.

  4. I like that the story conveys that we are not to fear our flaws but that flaws can be used to our advantage too.

  5. I like that it can allow me to guide my son on showing empathy on others.

  6. i like how the story talks about empathy for the young

  7. It teaches us to empathise with others.

  8. It teaches us about perseverance and empathy.

  9. It's a great book with colorful pictures that I can share with my kids and it carries wonderful message of friendship, animal conservation and empathy for others.

  10. It teaches about the value of determination and being different is a good thing.

  11. The book teaches about empathy, a tough concept for children to understand. With it, it gives the young ones examples of showing empathy to others.

  12. This is nice book for me to teach kids about empathy. Love the pics.

    Eunice Wee

  13. I also like how If I were a Blue Kangaroo would appeal to the children who are kinesthetic learners, like my DS#2.

  14. If I Were A Blue Kangaroo is simple yet imaginative. Will appeal to younger children definitely.

  15. I like that both books teach important values to the kids!

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  16. I like both books for teaching values to the children!


  17. It teaches the kids to show empathy to others

  18. I like the story that teaches the kids about empathy to others.


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