1. Where is My Red Ball
2. Let's Build a House
3. At the Foot of the Hill
5. Elephant Teapot
These five little books are works of genius by Yusof Gajah that small children can play and read repeatedly. They are simple yet will certainly encourage a child's creativity as there are endless ways to look at each page. Some of you may recognise two of the books as part of the McDonald's Happy Meal pack a few years ago - Di Kaki Bukit and Mari Kita Membina Sebuah Rumah.
The Dina series currently consists of three titles:
1. My Mother's Garden,
2. My Mother's Kitchen and
3. My Father's Farm.
Dina the little Malaysian girl enjoys playing, watching and helping her parents at home and outdoors. Children will feel the pleasure of recognising things such as the hibiscus or spices or the angry goose. The last few pages of each book gives more things that children can learn in English and Bahasa Malaysia.
We are deluged by stories of princesses from the west so it's really wonderful to introduce ten notable women characters from Malaysia that have become legends in local stories and imagination. We have princesses who live in the sea (Ulek Mayang); warrior princesses who are also great rulers (Cik Siti Wan Kembang and Saadong); a princess with her own mind (Puteri Gunung Ledang) and many more. While some have felt that the images look 'Disney', it is what works for this book as they are recognisable for children and a tribute to Emila's talent of converting possibly out-of-date images to appeal to today's children.
The story of Dill the tiny elephant who was inadvertently left behind by its parents and its journey to look for them was based on a German folktale with adaptation by Hans Volker Wolf. One of the few longer books with detailed illustrations by Yusof Gajah, this one is a must have.
11. The Magic Buffalo by Jainal Amambing
A happy-ending story that we all love, Jainal Amambing tells and illustrates a story of Sansarinaga, a poor orphan boy who could not afford a real buffalo to join in the buffalo race. So he decided to make one. And it turned out to be magical in more ways than he could have guessed.
13. Land Below the Wind by Awang Fadilah
Totally illustrated in black and white, this book manages to convey the beauty of Sabah in Awang's detailed drawings. A lot of information may be obtained in this little book such as the animals and birds in the forest, under the sea as well as musical instruments commonly played in Sabah.
12. Longhouse Days by Jainal Amambing
Jainal Amambing recalls his childhood days living in a traditional longhouse and the fun and community feeling where everyone belongs.
14. Under the Sea by Nor Azhar Ishak
The glorious colours and illustration in this book which were reproduced from original batik paintings in addition to the factual information by science educator Nor Azhar Ishak make this book a treasure. We were delighted once when a diver bought ten copies to give away because he wanted to share his experiences under the sea as he felt that the books were not only delightful but accurate.
Puteri Tioman never fails to wow readers, not only because of the realistic and rich illustrations but also because they carry an important message and is informative. This is one in a series of environmental books by Rossiti but Puteri Tioman has remain a favourite with many.
If we have 21 books, we would include Siti the Elephant by Rossiti with illustrations by Farah Ashiela too.
1. The Wild Treehouse of Borneo
2. By the River of Borneo
In The Wild Treehouse of Boreno, the simple story of an indigenous boy who helped his animal friends to build a home is given a special touch by Evi Shelvia's illustrations. The book introduces the animals in the forest as well as an appreciation of indigenous life.
The second book, By the River of Borneo is another winner. It revisits the beauty of the rainforest and celebrates the wildlife of Sabah, as well as the culture of the Kadazan-Dusun people.
Authors Lay Har and Lay Koon have made quite a name for themselves by their ability to see the humour and charm of the everyday of Malaysian life and giving us books to treasure. Is a sarong just a sarong? Not so for Adik who finds many imaginative ways to use Atuk's sarong and Atuk gamely joins in.
We feel we really must add this book because of the way Emila Yusof has interpreted an oft-told story in her own way with lyrical text and illustrations we have never seen before. Judge for yourself and yes, we will be producing an English version in 2019!
This book is the newest in the list but is another that we feel we simply must add for a Malaysian children's book collection. The unique illustrations based on pua kumbu motifs and engaging story of why crocodiles attack humans is both chilling and fascinating.