What is Singapore? How do you explain to a child what a country is? Thankfully, Noah hasn’t asked me that question yet, and is only interested in finding out where Singapore is on the world map. It’s a difficult question, because you need it to be simple enough for children to understand, yet detailed enough to satisfy their curiosity.
Apart from last week’s Timmy & Tammy DISCOVER Series: Lee Kuan Yew, I haven’t read any of the other Timmy & Tammy books. What is Singapore? is classified as under Level 3, suitable for increasingly confident readers. The words in the book aren’t complicated, though the ideas and analogies used might be a tad difficult for younger readers to understand.
In What is Singapore?, Timmy and Tammy are joined by three other characters, Karim, Raj, and Quentin. It might come across as a little forced to have characters from the four different ethnic groups, but I guess it’s important to have them, as they represent Singapore’s multi-racial society. It was nice that the children sought the help of their parents and grandparents when they couldn’t come up with answers to the question, “What is Singapore?” and I liked that Tammy summarised all the explanations on her own. Ultimately, they are reminded that Singapore is OUR home, and I think that’s the most important message of the book. Singapore may mean different things to different folks, but at the end of the day, what really matters is that we can all call it “home”. (Cue playing of Kit Chan’s ‘Home’. Check out this meaningful cover of the song HERE.)
Timmy & Tammy: What is Singapore?
Noah enjoys looking at the illustrations in the book, because they’re so colourful and detailed. He especially likes the butterfly, probably because of our recent experience rearing butterflies, and was most tickled when he saw the version of Singapore being a large soupy dot with wings and spikes. Of course, he didn’t understand what it meant, and asked me why the butterfly looked like that. I told him it was a combination of everything, but I suspect he wasn’t quite paying attention, because he got distracted by the Singapore flag on the porcupine’s back. He’s been learning about it in school, and recites (inaccurately) the Chinese rhyme, “国旗, 国旗, 我爱你” whenever he sees the Singapore flag.
Reading with Tiger
He likes the butterfly analogy best!
I think What is Singapore? is suitable for primary school students, especially if you want to use it as a reader, as it has some repetition, and relatively easy vocabulary. I found the different analogies interesting, and if you have older children, you can get them to come up with their own analogies of what they think Singapore is. It would be really interesting to see things from their point of view, especially if they bring their versions to life via drawings or sculptures!
Buy the Book
Timmy & Tammy: What is Singapore? on Armour Publishing
Timmy & Tammy: What is Singapore? is available at Kinokuniya and Popular Bookstores
PS. Armour Publishing is having a sale of up to 50% on selected titles from now till 19 August 2015. More details available HERE.
PPS. There’s a 10-25% discount on selected children’s books, including the two latest Timmy & Tammy books, at Popular this month.
We have a copy of Timmy & Tammy: What is Singapore? to be given to one lucky reader of Growing with the Tans! To participate, please complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and conditions apply.
Terms and Conditions:
This giveaway will end on Friday, 21st August 2015, at 2359h, and is open to Singapore residents only.
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