When I was young, Singa the Courtesy Lion was quite a popular character. How popular, you ask? Enough for my parents to order a Singa cake for my 1st birthday party. I kid you not. I have photos to prove it!
My super retro Singa birthday cake
Yes, that’s me
A few years ago, Singa, after a change in portfolio from being the Courtesy Lion to being the mascot for kindness, decided to quit, because it was said that “kindness shouldn’t be a campaign”. (You can read his resignation letter here.) That’s true, of course, but to me, it doesn’t hurt to have a mascot that children can recognise easily, and learn good values from. Thus, I was pleased to see the Singa and the Kindness Cubbies series being sold at Popular Bookstores.
The six books are divided equally into Levels 2 and 3, ie for growing readers and increasingly confident readers respectively. Noah doesn’t fall in either category, but he thoroughly enjoyed all six books, so don’t be afraid to try out these books with your toddler or preschooler if they can’t read yet.
Singa and the Kindness Cubbies Series
Each book has a page introducing Singa and the Kindness Cubbies, so you can start with any of the six books, and not worry about reading the books in a particular sequence. Singa is the leader, and you’ll see him gently guiding the Kindness Cubbies in the stories. I like that the Kindness Cubbies are all flawed in one way or another, because they are still young and learning, just like children! The lessons in each book are delivered by Singa in a natural manner, and are clear without being overly preachy.
Meet Singa and the Kindness Cubbies
I won’t talk about each book in detail, but I’ve picked out three of our favourites. Monster Trash is a Level 2 book, with slightly simpler vocabulary and sentences. Tomeo, the food-loving Kindness Cubby, is too busy eating to help the other Kindness Cubbies set up for the school fair. If that isn’t bad enough, he also litters, and his trash ends up becoming a huge monster, thanks to a rat and a series of unfortunate events. Singa and Tomeo work bravely to destroy the monster, and all the Kindness Cubbies then chip in to clean up and save the school fair.
Monster Trash clearly advocates throwing one’s trash away in the proper receptacles, and shows a negative consequence of littering, although it isn’t very likely to happen in real life. This is an important lesson to teach young children, as good habits are best inculcated from a young age.
Kindness Comes From Us and The Friendship Olympiad are both Level 3 books, with slightly more difficult vocabulary and complex sentences. In Kindness Comes From Us, we see the all too real and ugly side of people, when the Compassion Compass breaks down, and everyone starts playing the blame game. No one thinks that it is their fault that the Kindness level in Kindsville has dropped, which only serves to make it drop even further. In the end, Singa has to step in and remind everyone that kindness has to come from everyone.
Kindness Comes From Us
The Friendship Olympiad is a story that is close to my heart, because as a former teacher, I’ve seen many cases of students wanting to excel, and causing their friends much stress in the process. High achievers like Kalle are go-getters, and fail to see why others are unable to keep up with them. They often view their friends’ inadequacies as a sign of weakness, and think that they are deliberately not trying hard enough. My heart went out to Tomeo, who felt so lousy about himself that he feigned illness in order to get out of being Kalle’s partner in the Fitness Olympiad. Thankfully, with the help of Singa, Kalle sees the folly of her actions, and apologises to Tomeo for making him feel bad. That is what true friendship should be about, and I made sure that I emphasised this lesson to Noah when we read the book together.
The Friendship Olympiad
Personally, I like the discussion questions posed at the end of each book, as it invites readers to reflect on what they have just read. I modified the questions for Noah, because some of them are too difficult for him, and also tried asking him questions along the way. This way, I can ensure that he is properly engaged and actually learning from the stories, instead of just treating it as a simple story.
For those of you who grew up with Singa the Courtesy Lion, the Singa and the Kindness Cubbies series is a real blast from the past, and I think you’ll enjoy reading the books with your children. I like that there are simple, yet valuable lessons to be learnt from each story, and it’s a great way to reinforce the importance of moral values.
Buy the Book
Singa and the Kindness Cubbies Series on Armour Publishing
Singa and the Kindness Cubbies Series is also available at Popular Bookstores
Check out the previous Friday Flips posts HERE. I’ve also created a photo album on Facebook with some other good reads, and will be updating it whenever I come across more books that we enjoy. Do pop by for a look HERE.
Disclaimer: We received Singa and the Kindness Cubbies Series for the purpose of this review. All photos and opinions are, as always, our own.