Crocodiles Don’t Brush Their Teeth (鳄鱼不刷牙)by Colin Fancy

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A bilingual picture book with vibrant illustrations, this book explores the differences between human and animal behaviours. Its repetitive (and predictable) text can be a hit with young children and I like that it reinforces positive behaviour such as good manners, brushing teeth, washing hair and so on.

When I first read this book to Theo, I made it a point to frown and sound disapprovingly that the crocodile doesn’t brush its teeth. In contrast, I sounded really proud and happy when I read the child’s line “But I do!”

It is a fun book to read aloud and gets little readers involved too, so there is nothing I would not like about it.

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A Visit to Ah Ma by Xiao Kuang (小邝)

  

Bilingualism is definitely something we strive for in our family. I grew up speaking both English and Mandarin in Singapore. I do not believe that exposing a child to more than one language slows his speech development or causes any sort of confusion that messes their little brilliant minds up. In today’s shrinking world, knowing a second language will come in as an asset in the future. However, exposing Theo to Mandarin also means giving him an insight to Chinese culture and half his roots. 

One of our tasks in Singapore whilst we’re on holiday is to get excellent Chinese materials for Theo. I’m fortunate that Singapore is a heaven for looking for great books. At Kinokuniya Book Store, we found him A Visit to Ah Ma, a Chinese book with local context and Pin Yin.

An imaginative boy, who clearly loves his grandmother a lot, dreams of visiting her. He pretends to be a skilled doubler decker bus driver. His journey to his grandmother’s is full of adventures as traffic lights and zebra crossings come to live. 

The illustrations depicted in the book of those of scenes in Singapore – Marina Bay Sands, the Esplanade, Singapore Flyer, HDB flats and so on.

This is such a great book for Theo who will be turning one next month. Apart from exposing him to Mandarin, I’ll be able to point out landmarks in Singapore to him and talk about them.