Timmy and Tammy by Ruth Wan-Lau and Illustrated by Eliz Ong


As promised

The kind folks at Armour Publishing recently sent us Set 3 of their popular Timmy and Tammy series—At the BeachAt the Dragon PlaygroundAt the ZooAt Gardens by the Bay, and At the National Day Parade. These five books were included in last year’s “SG50 Golden Jubilee Baby Gift” (given to Singapore citizens born in 2015), and are now available for sale to all.

The Let Me Read series is a guided approach to helping children read on their own. As the reader turns each page he/she becomes confident with new vocabulary and comprehension. The series’ Level 2 books are perfect for my emergent reader, who is beginning to read complex sight words, or words she can automatically recognize in print without having to use any strategies to decode, and longer sentences.

The Preschooler and I have read Sets 1 and 2 countless times and, apart from the series’ lack of diversity, I can not help but notice that, oftentimes, the adult characters drive these stories’ narratives, and how the child characters’ compliance is praised. An example of the former in this set: in At the Dragon Playground, it is Mum who suggests that the children build a sandcastle, rather than Timmy, Tammy, or one of their friends. An example of the latter in this set: in At Gardens by the Bay, Mum asks Tammy to hold her hand, and Timmy reaches for his sister’s hand as well. “That’s a good brother!” Mum says. And while these didactic intrusions are not bad (values blahblahblah), they weigh down the text, making the stories less lively and zippy than the titles and the illustrations would suggest.

Still, The Preschooler loves these books and spotting her favorite sights of her adopted home—the beach, the Dragon Playground, Gardens by the Bay. Of this set, she enjoyed At the National Day Parade the least, partially because the event has no real relevance to her, but mostly because fireworks and the roar of fighter jets overhead terrify her!