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Books for Benjamin

Posted by
spots (Singapore, Singapore) on 25 August 2008 in Lifestyle & Culture and Portfolio.

Benjamin has started reading Richard Scarry! OK OK, obviously he's not reading the words himself. But he has definitely taken a liking to Richard Scarry and is captivated by the drawings, JUST LIKE DANIEL WAS when Daniel was his age. ^__^

We discovered Richard Scarry in California in a wee little cosy library in Palo Alto that was nestled in a single storey house surrounded in a residential tree-lined neighbourhood. His books were on display and they caught my eye because the drawings were filled with animals, cars, trucks, trains,.... all the things Daniel loved!

When we returned to Singapore last year, we were delighted to find that Richard Scarry book were sold 2nd hand at Bras Basah Complex. You could also find them at those weird makeshift book stalls that tend to set up outside your neighbourhood NTUC or at funfairs or outside MRT stations. (The books would be like $2-3 per book!).

So, we grab grab grab.

We have now 5 Richard Scarry books which we bought in America and 4 more that we snapped up from local 2nd hand stores/stalls. We also bought the Richard Scarry videos, which my kids love. The songs that are sung are so catchy, Dan knows them all by heart now! I love Richard Scarry because there is a certain wittyness and innocence in his writing. One of my favourite stories from Richard Scarry is the absent-minded Rabbit, who gets stuck in some wet cement because he doesn't look where he's going. People try to push him out and pull him out, but in the end, an excavator comes to the rescue to scoop him out!

In general, Richard Scarry's drawings are just really engaging and captivating. He's got this entire world, called Busytown, and some of my favourite characters are Sergent Murphy, Bananas Gorilla, Huckle & Lowly and Mr Frumble.

Anyway, back to Benjamin. He has taken a definite liking to trains. So, another favourite book of his is "Blue Train, Green Train", a Dr Seuss Beginner's Book featuring Thomas the Tank Engine! He's at that stage where he sees a picture in the book and then he just HAS TO run and get the object he sees and compare it with the picture. So, if I'm reading "Blue Train, Green Train", he'll go and grab the Thomas the Tank Engine from the toy box and then come and point to the picture and point to the train and I'll say, "Yes, Benjamin. Same. See? Same."

And he can do this for objects that are not exactly the same as the picture too. For example, upon seeing a picture of a giraffe in a Richard Scarry book, Ben ran all the way to Dan's room to get his stuffed toy giraffe! Also, when seeing a picture of a caterpillar and hearing Mommy say "caterpillar", Ben ran to Dan's room again to get his stuffed toy caterpillar (which by the way, doesn't really look like a caterpillar!)

I'm really glad Ben is taking a liking to books. From 14 months, we started to include him in our evening bedtime reading sessions with Dan. But, his attention span was the size of a pea and he ended up disrupting the reading sessions by pulling out all the books from the shelves and almost tearing some of them! These days though, thankfully, he's much more able to focus, and more interested too. I do hope to be able to cultivate a good reading habit in Ben too!

Dad from Singapore

We feel very heartening and happy from your account of Ben's abilities in relating to objects from the books you read to him. What about his talking abilities? Perhaps your next topic should be to capture this aspect on a video clip, if the opportunity arises. Talk, talk, talk..... to him at every opportunity.

27 Aug 2008 1:05am

spots from Singapore, Singapore

unfortunately, i lost my camera at chek jawa 2 weekends ago and cannot take pics/videos anymore! :(

27 Aug 2008 1:17pm

tyan from Singapore, Singapore

i tried to look for Scarry's books after reading your blog but couldnt find it in the library near my place.Maybe i'll try bras basah one of these days:)

27 Aug 2008 2:52pm

Dad from Singapore

Oh dear.... Could you have misplaced the camera ? We hope to see (and hear) more photos and video clips soon.

28 Aug 2008 11:52pm

Teresa from Singapore

Ruth, u can buy Richard Scarry vcds from Carrefour or those neighbourhood elder son grew up on a diet of these VCDS....even now, he likes to watch..and he is 8 *blush*

29 Aug 2008 1:28am

Bitsy from Singapore

I don't mean to be rude or anything like that but I'm kinda surprised that Ben started reading before talking. Don't you have to be able to form the sounds first??

4 Sep 2008 3:22am

spots from Singapore

hey Bitsy, if u read my entry carefully, you'll realise that Ben cannot read yet. He's simply taken a liking to my reading to him Richard Scarry.

4 Sep 2008 6:00am

Bitsy from Singapore

Oops..I'm the one who cannot read yet...

4 Sep 2008 1:55pm

Liann from Singapore, Singapore


Love your site....

My son loves Richard Scary too...but the books are so exp at the bookshops....can I trouble you to tell me where in bras Basah you saw the 2nd hand versions? Thanks!

19 Nov 2009 10:37am