Thursday, May 27, 2004

Kids' stuff

I visited MPH Midvalley in Kuala Lumpur with some friends, and eventually our conversation turned to children's books.

I remember, as a child, that the library was the world's most fabulous place. We kids would beg our dad to visit the Johor Baru library as often as we can, and Saturdays are a special time for my sister and I.

The selection at the children's section was interesting to say the least. For some strange reason, it didn't have the usual 'children's stuff' like Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys or Nancy Drews. Or perhaps I gravitated instead towards the books like biographies of famous people (written for children of course) and Shakespeare in comics form.

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I loved those comics. By the time I was 12, I've read almost all of Shakespeare's plays. I believe they were the one that helped me appreciate Shakespeare when I sat for my Literature unit during my A Levels. (See, there's a place for comics in a child's reading list!)

The other books I read when I was a child was Asterix & Obelix. They were so hilarious, that till this day my sister and I still thumb through our worn-out copies.

When we shifted to Kuala Lumpur when I was 13, we never again did find a good library like the one in JB. I mean, how cool is a library that has Asterix & Obelix and Shakespeare in comic form? We were spoiled!

The only substitute was my school library, where I finally discovered Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys!

Now that I'm all grown up, I don't understand the allure of reading children's books anymore. Perhaps it is because I like more detail in my fiction. Or perhaps, because I never did get to read a children's book through a child's eye, I don't understand its magical allure.

Still, when I saw the selection of children's books in MPH yesterday, I was awed. My hands were itching to buy some! (It was the covers, you see. I'm always a sucker for colourful covers.) And surely, thousands of adult readers of children's books saw something in them.

Anyway, perhaps Daphne could recommend me a small list of children's books to start off with?

How about you? Do you have a few recommendations? :)


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