Book Review: Abracazebra by Helen Docherty & Thomas Docherty

Abracazebra

Abracazebra

In Yawnalot, a sleepy old place
Where everyone knew each other’s face,
Life went by in its usual way;
Day after day… after day… after day.

So begins Abracazebra, a book by husband-and-wife team Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty. Nothing ever happens in Yawnalot, until Abracazebra shows up one magical day. She brings so much colour and life to Yawnalot with her fantastic show, and almost all the animals (especially the little ones) adore her. All except for Goat, who is jealous of the attention being taken away from him.

The animals like Abracazebra so much that they want her to stay with them in Yawnalot, but Goat does not like the idea at all. He starts spreading rumours that the zebra could not be trusted because she had stripes and none of the other animals had stripes. The animals are slowly influenced by Goat and eventually, Abracazebra is forced to leave Yawnalot.

inside

inside

There is a happy ending though, and through the story of Abracazebra, children learn about the harmful nature of jealousy and spreading rumours, and the importance of celebrating diversity. There is also a lesson on being willing to admit when you have done something wrong and making up for your mistake.

Abracazebra is an engaging and beautifully-illustrated children’s book. But it is so much more than just that. The story of Abracazebra and the animals of Yawnalot can be used to start meaningful conversations about friendship, bullying and empathy. Abracazebra addresses the serious issue of accepting differences in a light-hearted and accessible way and is available from Book Depository for S$12.10.

For those of you who like having activities to accompany the book, you can download a ‘Spot the Difference’ activity sheet, a colouring picture, or a DIY Abracazebra mask from the author’s website.

Disclaimer: We received the book from Book Depository for review purposes. This review contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. 

Salute Coffeeshop at Bukit Merah

A few weekends ago, we checked out Salute, an atas kopitiam in Bukit Merah, with my sister and brother-in-law. Despite being located in a housing estate, Salute does not serve your typical kopitiam fare of fishball noodles and chicken rice. Instead, you can find German and French cuisine there.

I was hoping to try the Ramen Burger from Mian by the Traveling C.O.W. but it seems that they have stopped operating at Salute. We ordered pork knuckle and beer from Stew Küche and the pork knuckle was tender with crunchy crackling. Quite impressive considering that it’s definitely not as expensive as what you find in a German restaurant. Beer was good too. We also had the mackeral from seasalt – the seafood place and the whitebait and clams in white wine. All very decent!

We are certainly planning to visit again soon especially since we haven’t tried the French food from Immanuel French Kitchen or the chicken wings from Two Wings. It gets crowded on weekends and queues form very quickly at dinner time so do go early if you want to check it out. You can also make reservations through the Stew Küche Facebook page.

Salut Coffeeshop

Salute Coffeeshop

the anchor tenant serving German food

the anchor tenant serving German food

Seasalt

seasalt – the seafood place

French cuisine

French cuisine

chicken wings

chicken wings

drinks

drinks

very good pork knuckle

very good pork knuckle

whitebait

whitebait

fish

mackeral

clams

clams

Salute Coffeeshop
Blk 119 Bukit Merah Lane 1
#01-40 Singapore 151119
Closed on Mondays

Book Review: Animal Noises by Thomas Flintham

a tasty read

a tasty read

Baby D is not particularly fond of books. He likes to chew them, it must be said, but he doesn’t really care for the content inside. In fact, he likes to flip the page before I’m done reading the words. The only exception thus far is Animal Noises by Thomas Flintham.

Animal Noises is about the noises that animals make. The bright, contrasting colours capture his attention and he actually pauses at each page long enough for me to read the catchy rhyming couplet describing the sound made by that animal. Personally, I adore the whimsical illustrations and the quirky choice of colours. Purple cows on pink grass? Orange owls in blue trees? Why not, indeed?

looking at ducks

looking at ducks

Animal Noises introduces a child to animals on a farm and the sounds they make. Familiar animals such as ducks, donkeys, goats and sheep can be seen gallivanting around in the book. The lively drawings and happy colours remind me of Pop Art and make me feel like getting another copy so I can frame up some of the pages and display them on my wall. True story.

To be honest, I can’t bear to cut up the book, but it comes with 12 sturdy flashcards that can be cut out and used to teach animal sounds. I can totally imagine myself singing Old MacDonald had a Farm while referring to the animal on each card and the sound it makes.

he loves the bright colours

he loves the bright colours

Visually stunning and fun to read, Animal Noises is a lovely book for toddlers and is available from Book Depository for S$11.48.

Disclaimer: We received the book from Book Depository for review purposes. This review contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. 

Happy Chinese New Year!

Been so crazy busy with Chinese New Year prep and the four days of visiting all over the island. Finally have some time to sit down and look at the hundreds of photos taken over the long weekend. I love that we had four continuous days to visit friends and relatives and we were in a very festive mood throughout.

We had a very full schedule for the four days. On Day 1, we went to my grandma’s place in the morning, followed by Adrian’s grandparent’s home in the afternoon, and finally Adrian’s uncle’s place in the evening. Oh, we had an awesome kumquat bundt cake made by Alpha Bakes on Day 1! Day 2 was somewhat better. The older kids accompanied their Aunt Fifi to a relative’s house, and then we went to my aunt’s place and had a great time there with the cousins. Day 3 saw us at Anya’s schoolmate’s home and then we celebrated Juan/ Sam/ Dan’s birthday at Juan’s place. On Day 4, we went to the Lobos’ new house and we had steamboat for dinner. Phew!

I love getting the kids new outfits for Chinese New Year and this year, their clothes were from Elly and Missy Messy. I wore my new vermilion Lark & Peony cheongsam on the first day, a yellow polka-dotted one from Tong Tong Friendship Store (that has been in my wardrobe for a few years now) on the second day, and Our Bitsy Prints cheongsams on the third and fourth days.

Even though CNY is technically 15 days long, I think I’m all CNY-ed out after the long weekend and I’m just looking forward to a steamboat dinner on Chap Goh Meh!

spent a lot of time walking around with oranges!

spent a lot of time walking around with oranges!

the three of them in their Elly outfits

the three of them in their Elly outfits

attempted a family photo

attempted a family photo

looking for oranges

looking for oranges

yummy kumquat bundt cake made by Debs

yummy kumquat bundt cake made by Debs

walking around the garden

walking around the garden

another attempt at a family photo

another attempt at a family photo

Day 2 and another set of Elly outfits

Day 2 and another set of Elly outfits

harassing the wooden baby

harassing the wooden baby

one with all the cousins

one with all the cousins

love this tee!

love this tee!

Day 3 with matching cheongsam

Day 3 with matching cheongsam

with her friends

with her friends

CNY swim

CNY swim

with the gang

with the gang

Day 4 with at Lobo mansion

Day 4 with at Lobo mansion

homeless-looking children in Missy Messy

homeless-looking children in Missy Messy

water play!

water play!

they had a lot of fun

they had a lot of fun

sparklers

sparklers

Birdz of Play at Jurong Bird Park

Birdz of Play at Jurong Bird Park has finally reopened! It was closed for maintenance for quite a long time but now that we can visit for free with our SG50 promotional annual pass, we’ll probably drop by quite often.

Birdz of Play is very similar to the wet playground at the Zoo and is near enough to the main entrance of the Bird Park that you can walk instead of waiting for the tram. There’s an ice-cream place there with hot dogs, muffins and such and a retail shop where you can buy swimwear and other essentials if you didn’t bring any along.

good day to play!

good day to play!

checking out the dry area while waiting for the wet zone to open

checking out the dry area while waiting for the wet zone to open

someone hates the swings!

someone hates the swings!

safety rules

safety rules

we were the first ones there!

we were the first ones there!

splash!

splash!

guess who doesn't like the water...

guess who doesn’t like the water…

the older ones sliding

the older ones sliding

sitting ducks

sitting ducks

so much fun!

so much fun!

time to wash up

time to wash up

a bit more playground time

a bit more playground time

flying fox

flying fox

Birdz of Play operating hours:
Weekdays: 11.00am – 5.30pm
Weekends, Public Holidays and School Holidays: 9.00am – 5.30pm

金发姑娘和三只熊 – Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Mandarin) plus a Giveaway!

Goldilocks & the Three Bears

Goldilocks & the Three Bears

Goldilocks & the Three Bears

Goldilocks & the Three Bears

Who's that sleeping in my bed??

Who’s that sleeping in my bed??

We all know the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Goldilocks, an inquisitive trespasser, wanders into a cosy little house while its furry occupants are out. She makes a mess of the place and hangs around long enough to learn a lesson about respecting other people’s belongings.

SRT’s The Little Company performed Goldilocks and the Three Bears in English back in 2013 and it was so popular that they are bringing it back, but in Mandarin this time. It features music by the Laurence Olivier award-winning West-End musical theatre songwriting duo George Stiles and Anthony Drewe and is a timeless classic that the kids are sure to enjoy. We are big fans of productions by SRT’s The Little Company and can’t watch to catch this in March!

TICKETING DETAILS

Event Name: Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Mandarin) 金发姑娘和三只熊
Date: 11 to 29 March 2015
Venue: DBS Arts Centre – Home of SRT
Time: Weekdays – 10am
Weekends – 11am; 2pm
Prices: $22 – $35

GIVEAWAY

I have 1 set of 3 ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears (Mandarin) 金发姑娘和三只熊’ tickets for Sunday, 15 March 2015, 2pm to be won by one lucky reader! Tickets can be collected at the venue on show day. This show is recommended for 5 years old and above.

To qualify, simply do the following by Sunday, 15 February 2015, 2359H (Singapore time):
1. Like the ‘In the Wee HoursFacebook page.
2. Like the ‘Singapore Repertory TheatreFacebook page.
3. Like and comment on this Facebook post telling me what your favourite fairy tale is! Tag a friend in your comment.

Terms & Conditions: This giveaway is open to Singapore residents only. Winners will be contacted through Facebook message and will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be drawn. All incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsors, please note that all fake Facebook accounts (e.g. accounts set up purely to take part in contests with no or very few real friends) will also be ineligible to win.

David’s 1st Birthday – Party at Happy Willow

It’s been almost a month since David’s birthday party at Happy Willow and I’m finally getting around to blogging about it. Have been very busy with work and so tired every day and I crash after the kids go to bed and have no time to sit in front of the computer!

Since David doesn’t have any actual friends, the party was more for our friends and their kids to gather and hang out. It was quite casual and we didn’t have any particular theme for the party. Now that we have three kids, I’m a lot less hung up about party prep and goody bags and all the peripheral stuff. As long we have a location and food, there’s really no need to worry about anything else.

It was so nice to have our friends with us to celebrate David’s first birthday. My sister (Alpha Bakes) made an amazingly delicious and pretty cake for him. The kids had a lot of fun at Happy Willow and were moving around so quickly that we didn’t manage to get any good photos of them. We did get them to stay still long enough for some pictures at the photo booth though!

Hi! I'm 1!

Hi! I’m 1!

the chwee kueh was very popular

the chwee kueh was very popular

more food

more food

cake made by Debs

cake made by Debs

family photo

family photo

having fun at the photo booth

having fun at the photo booth

Xin (who has since given birth) and Julia

Xin (who has since given birth) and Julia

the strange husband

the strange husband

all dressed up

all dressed up

Alex, Adam and Sam fooling around

Alex, Adam and Sam fooling around

with auntie Vonnie

with auntie Vonnie

Adam loves the grass skirt

Adam loves the grass skirt