Posts Tagged ‘Children’s books’

When Caleb first started worming his way through junior chapter books, I tried to make sure I read every book that he read. I’m too way behind these days and now just skim the pages of most of his reads.

Dave Pigeon is one of those book series that I had to read through though because it is simply hilarious and such a good read. I’m glad I stumbled on it on the bookshelves of Clementi Public Library.



Series: Dave Pigeon Series

Author: Swapna Haddow, Illustrator: Sheena Dempsey

Publisher: Faber & Faber Children’s

Age range: 7-10 years old

Page-count: 160 pages

Illustrations interspersed every few pages

DavePg1Dave Pg2

What’s on the Plate?

Dave Pigeon is the self-proclaimed hero in this series, whilst his best friend Skipper types out their story on a trusty typewriter that he found, for their book, so they can tell their tale to their community. There’s plenty of interruptions along the way from Dave who interjects with his more glorious version of the story during Skipper’s narration.

Dave Pg 4Dave Pg 5

What’s Delicious?

  1. This is laugh-out loud funny, with all the animal puns and quips from two quick-talking pigeons.
  2. The theme is ultimately on friendship and how Dave and Skipper stay friends through thick and thin, and usually with Skipper saving the day as the true hero in the tale.
  3. It isn’t easy to have talking animals as main characters in a junior chapter book series given the older age group of readers as compared to picture books. But the author has pulled it off cleverly and made this such a fun read.

Read more about this series at the author’s website.

Related Links:

Caleb’s Book Plate #7- Dragon & Iguana Besties, Fantastical Adventures

Caleb’s Book Plate #1: Scouring the world for deliciously good books

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On Friday, 3rd April, our Prime Minister Lee announced that Singapore was going into a one-month Circuit Breaker period to break the chain of Covid-19 transmissions. This is effectively Singapore’s semi-lockdown, where workplaces, schools and most places were closed and we stayed home, except for trips out to buy groceries and other essentials.

I had coincidentally borrowed a big stash of books from our public library for Caleb earlier that day. He wormed his way through all the books within a few days.

Here’s the first of his favourite reads from week 1 of Circuit Breaker.




Series: Spynosaur Series

Author: Guy Bass, Illustrator: Lee Robinson

Publisher: Stripes Publishing

Age range: 7-10 years old

Page-count: About 200 pages-ish

Lots of comic strip style illustrations interspersed every few pages

SpynosaurPg1Spynosaur Pg2


What’s on the Plate?

Amber Gambit gets to skip school every now and then for secret missions with her secret agent dad Spynosaur. Enough said.

Spynosaur Pg3Spynosaur Pg4


What’s Delicious?

1. It’s a wacky, humorous series with lots of chuckles.

2. Fun premise with a kid leading a secret agent double life with her dad. Talk about parent-child bonding with a mission.

3. The illustrations lighten the read and double the fun!

Read more about this series at author Guy Bass’s website.


Related Links:

Caleb’s Book Plate #6 – Read your Kid into a Reader, Build a Leader


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Amidst this COVID-19 climate, I’m mutedly delighted that Little Mole’s Awesome Star has received a 5-star rating from Reader’s Favourite.

Little Mole's Awesome Star F Cover

Readers’ Favourite review:

“Little Mole was eagerly waiting for his special star. He wanted to know if his special star would show him awesome stuff …

Mole pagespread1

Little Mole’s Awesome Star by Emily Lim-Leh is an adorable story that introduces children to the star-nosed mole species in a fun and interesting way.

The concept of finding one’s own place in this world and independence has been woven beautifully into the plot, making it easy for young readers to understand it.

Mole pagespread2


John Lim brings the concept, the story, and the characters to life with his wonderful illustrations. The Let’s Discuss questions and the Did You Know part about star-nosed moles makes the book perfect to use during interactive sessions in classrooms to make learning entertaining. Children, parents, and tutors need more books like this one to make learning and teaching new concepts fun, interesting, and interactive.”


Little Mole has just surfaced in local bookstores this week. Look for my book at Kinokuniya, Times Bookstores and Popular Bookstores this weekend! Also available from Times’ online store Goguru.

Little Mole Back Cover

Related Links:

Awesome Star! Little Mole surfaces in Straits Times’ 8 Reads for March

Reader’s Favourite! Little Godwit finds his way to 5 shiny stars!


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Python in the Playground is out!

Python Book photo

With PK Cheng, illustrator (left) and Florence Chang, Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s Assistant Director of Education (right)

With all the not-good press that snakes have been getting lately, this creature is spotlighted in Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s local wildlife series for good reason.

  • What do you do when you spot a snake in the neighbourhood?
  • What do you not do?

These and other facts have been parsed within story in this picture book which has gone out to all the local kindergartens in Singapore. Hopefully, with more education, we (which includes me) can learn to co-exist with the wildlife in Singapore.

This is my 3rd picture book on local wildlife for Wildlife Reserves Singapore, following books 1 & 2 – Why did the Pangolin Cross the Road? and Little Otter, Litter Trouble. This series is illustrated by the talented PK Cheng, who is also illustrator of the Abbie Rose & the Magic Suitcase picture books.

All three books plus the Kai Kai & Jia Jia giant panda picture books are for sale at Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s in-stores as well as their e-store. (Limited copies of the big book format of Python in the Playground are also available at the e-store.)


Related Links:

Singapore’s favoured New Resident Little Otter meets Litter Trouble

Preschoolers meet Pangolin when book, project & outreach come together

Kai Kai & Jia Jia, Baby Panda Dreams & New Additions at River Safari

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Today, I’m participating in author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday!

My picture book read this week is a book recommended by my friend Suzanne because she thought it was so Caleb. I then asked my girlfriends to gift it to me as part of my birthday bookquet.

This book is totally Caleb, down to the humour and premise of building a robot version of himself.

A couple of years back, while in the car, Caleb told me that he wished he could replicate himself, so his replicate could go to kindergarten on his behalf, along with clearing up his toys and packing up his room.

“That’s a great idea,” I said. “I think I also want to replicate myself. One of me can go shopping. One of me can have coffee and read a book. One of me can sleep in. And One of me can take care of you.”

There was a pause in the backseat. “Mum, are you serious?”

“Of course,” I said.

“Mum! I was just joking.”

Caleb wanted to replicate his father once, so he could do multiple things with him and for him. I blogged about it here.


Title: Can I Build Another Me?

Author & Illustrator: Shinsuke Yoshitake

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Theme: Identity, Self-awareness, self-discovery

Opening line:

“I was fed up with doing things I didn’t want to do. Homework, tidying up, helping around the house – how boring! I’d much rather have fun instead.

One day, I had a great idea. I would build another me. Then he could do everything for me!”



A boy decides to build a robot to take over doing all his homework and housework duties. But to do that, his robot wants to first know everything about him.



This story is really about identity and learning about oneself. After reading through the story, you can take blank sheets of paper and have your child ask the same question: Can I build another me?


Write down details about himself/ herself just as the main character has done according to the headers through the pages of the book:

Facts about me

My body and my face

Likes and Dislikes

Things I can do and can’t do

Can I build page


Related Links:

Perfect Picture Book Friday #13: It Might Be an Apple…or maybe not

Picturing Books: Birthday Bookquet, Menu Literature & Library Nibbles

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The Notebook of Doom series is right up there as one of Caleb’s and my favourite junior chapter book series. It’s funny, clever, imaginative and full of action.


We read the entire 13-book series on my Kindle


Series: Notebook of Doom

Author: Troy Cummings

Publisher: Branches, Scholastic

Age range: 6-9 years old

100-ish pages

Illustrations interspersed every few pages


What’s on the Plate?

Alexander Bopp is the new nerdy kid in town. He is scared to death of spending his first night in a new house, going to a new school in a new town and having to make new friends.

Stermont turns out to be a much stranger town than Alexander could have expected. And when he discovers the Notebook of Doom, it sets him on a string of adventures that turn him into an unlikely hero. Rip Bonkowski, who starts off name-calling Alexandra, becomes his best friend and monster-busting partner, along with his other bestie Nikki, a mysterious kick-ass hoodie girl.



What’s Delicious?

Caleb and I lapped up this series over many moments of chortles and snortles together. I could easily devour this series a second time and still laugh out loud.

  1. I love how the story plots are smart, funny and fresh.
  2. It goes beyond the formulaic. The three main characters Alex, Rip and Nikki are extremely well-fleshed out across the books, with character development and surprises in store.
  3. Whilst each book has a standalone story, there is an underlying arc that ties the whole series together beautifully and the big reveal at the end of the series was unexpected and satisfying.
  4. The illustrations are equally brilliant and bring to life the characters of the kids and the hilarious monsters that they are fighting against.

Read more about this series at the author Troy Cummings’ website.


Related Links:

Caleb’s Book Plate #8- Muddled Hercules, Vain Theseus …Hopeless Heroes

Caleb’s Book Plate #7- Dragon & Iguana Besties, Fantastical Adventures


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It was a books jackpot when I found the entire series on Clementi public library’s shelf as they weren’t there on my last umpteen visits!

“Mum, can you borrow the rest of the series?” Caleb asked. “This is so funny.”

I googled and found that they haven’t been  published yet…haha. Isn’t that a dream for an author…when the reader cannot wait for the next book to come out?



Series: Hopeless Heroes

Author: Stella Tarakson, Illustrated by: Nick Roberts

Publisher: Sweet Cherry Publishing

Age range: 6-9 years old

200-ish pages

Black and White illustrations interspersed every few pages


What’s on the Plate?

In Book 1, Tim Baker helps with housework daily as his mum has to pull two jobs after his dad passed away. He accidentally breaks a valuable vase whilst cleaning it and frees Greek demigod Hercules, who has been trapped in the vase by his evil stepmother Hera.

Hero sperad1.jpg

Tim discovers that Hercules is mostly brawn, with little brain. Hercules turns Tim’s housekeeping efforts into a nightmare when he defeats a tiger rug, chops off the heads of Tim’s mum’s flowers, amongst other conquests.

Hero spread 3

Tim goes on to meet more hopeless heroes through the subsequent books in this laugh-out loud series, from self-loving Theseus, who cannot stop admiring himself in the mirror to trickster God Hermes who flip flops on loyalty between the evil goddess Hera and his own agenda.

Hero spread2

What’s Delicious?

I slurped up the books as quickly as Caleb did, for several reasons:

  1. It’s well-written, humorous and a pacy read.
  2. I like how Tim, the powerless kid, ends up being the real hero who saves the day whilst the Greek Gods bungle around like humans.
  3. The author has fleshed out Tim’s character well, down to his worries for his mother, fears of the school bully and other regular kid problems. And Tim’s own personal growth and family’s story progresses through the series, rather than staying static.
  4. The illustrations are an excellent complement to the text, with the Greek gods drawn as black 2D -looking cut-outs whilst Tim looks like the real deal.

Read more about this series at the author Stella Tarakson’s website.


Related Links:

Caleb’s Book Plate #3- Dragon Twins’ Hilarious Squabbles & Troubles

Caleb’s Book Plate #1- Scouring the World for Deliciously Good Books

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I missed most of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC) this year. I was tackling a strong one-month-long flu. Two courses of antibiotics later, I recovered just in time for the Scholastic Picture Book Award Ceremony. I attended a couple of sessions the following day before the air-con sent me into a coughing fit and back home. Thank God I’ve shaken off that flu bug.

I did have 3 wonderful takeaways from AFCC 2019 which had everything to do with Picture Books:

  1. Picture a Book Loot

I stocked up on my book loot at the Festival Bookstore with the most gorgeous picture books.


And an added prize to the stash? An Elephant & Piggie Bookend from Closetful of Books, the official bookstore for AFCC this year. (Okay, I prized it so I pleaded for it like a kid.)


  1. Ida, Always & Autographed

I’ll blog more about this book soon. But what I’ll say here is that this was given to me by my dear friend Hwee who scored me an autographed copy from bestselling illustrator Charles Santoso whom she cornered in the Festival Bookstore.

Elephant BookEnd.jpg


  1. Tasting Scholastic-flavored Rojak

I’m still enjoying the bookelicious aftertaste of a Scholastic-flavored win for My Grandfather’s Rojak, a joint competition submission of manuscript and storyboard from Alycia and me.


In between two pockets of time there, I managed to catch up with a few dear friends. It was a picture-full AFCC for me!


Doing a book swop with my writing buddy Pauline Loh


With my decade-old lunch kaki Hwee Goh, bestselling author of the Plano Series


With friends Elizabeth and Alycia (also my SPBA 2019 collaborator) after the Award Ceremony

Related Links:

My Grandfather’s Rojak – Tasty Treat at Scholastic Picture Book Award

Conversations in Moderation & Judging books from cover to cover





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See who flew into Times’ Bookstore’s Singapore’s Bicentennial Collection of books!

Delighted to see Little Godwit shelved with a high-brow collection of books in the store and also in the store front displays of Times Bookstore at Jelita.

(Left photo) Little Godwit with my publisher Marshall Cavendish’s books on the standee to the right. Other children’s titles by Epigram Books and Bubbly Books to the left.

(Right photo) Little Godwit lands on shelves of heavy high-brow books and tries to fit in. 🙂

Little Godwit Finds His Wings is part of Times bookstore’s Bicentennial books collection – all going at 20% off for the month of August.

Read with the Times and grab your copies of books by Singapore authors before the promotion ends on 31st August!


Related Links:

Help! Vote Little Godwit for POPULAR Readers’ Choice Awards 2019!

Start your Picture Book Reading Voyage with your Kids this Read Fest!




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The best gauge of how much Caleb loves a particular series is if there are leftovers on the plate ie. Does he finish the series or not? When he consumes the entire series and asks for more, I know we hit book jackpot.

The Dragonbreath series was recommended by my bestie Gail. Her kids (my god-kids) relished this series. And now Caleb loves it too!


We hijacked this from my bestie’s home and downloaded the rest on my Kindle

Danny Dragonbreath is brave but not the brightest spark around. He’s lousy at blowing dragon fire, gets picked on by the school bully, day dreams excessively and runs from one strange mystical adventure to the next.



His best friend Wendell the Iguana is brilliant, total nerd, clean freak and hypochondriac.


Cristiana the crested lizard is Wendell’s fellow-brilliant nerd friend and skeptic. She doesn’t believe Danny is a dragon because he lacks all the impressive dragon qualities and doesn’t believe in anything mystical like dragons.

The trio go from one hilarious adventure to another. From busting a jackalope traffickers. To saving Danny Dragonbreath’s annoying little cousin from knights. And more.

The really fun illustrations every few pages breaks up the text and is great for Caleb who still likes seeing illustrations in the books that he reads. He consumed this entire series at 7+ years old.

We love the books and they are right up there as one of our mum-and-son favourite early chapter book series!

Related Links:

Dragonbreath Books Website

Caleb’s Book Plate #1: Scouring the world for deliciously good books



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