Sampan by Chua Hui Ying and Illustrated by Dawn Ang

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My toddler and I are aiming to read 1,000 books together by the time she is five. We chart our progress on Goodreads.com and we are, on target, half-way to our goal. We recently logged Sampan, a picture book by Chua Hui Ying and illustrated by Dawn Ang.

Sampan (“wooden boat”) is a collection of verse inspired by the author’s childhood home and its many tropical fruit trees. “[I] hope that Sampan… introduces nature to children and stirs up their imaginations, with the help of parents and teachers,” Chua says in her note to readers and their caregivers. And the book accomplishes just that. Sampan‘s twee, saccharine poems describe Singapore’s urban flora and fauna, and educational extension activities punctuate each page.

Ang’s illustrations, however, are striking. A beautiful two-page spread, illustrating Chua’s poem “River Rushing,” for example, uses bold color and unique perspective.  Another spread, illustrating “Fireflies,” is moody and evocative.

Buy Sampan via Ethos Books (SG$12.90); a special thanks to the publisher for sending this delightful book my way!