BOOK REPORT EMILA YUSOF’S ‘DINA’ SERIES
Emila Yusof’s ‘Dina’ series has been steadily gathering fans since the publication of the first book, ‘My Mother’s Garden’, in 2010. All of the books use uncomplicated language to tell simple stories of a happy childhood spent admiring the colours of a butterfly or helping Mum to chop vegetables or Dad to feed the goats. The highlight of the series is of course Yusof’s sweet watercolour illustrations of Dina and her world. We think the books would appeal to kids aged 4-7.
My Father’s Farm (2015)
‘My Father’s Farm’ follows Dina on to her father’s farm and she takes us through all the things she likes to do there (and the things she doesn’t like, such as being chased by geese). We asked Lyeana, aged 7, what she thought of the book: ‘This book is about a girl that likes to help her father in the farm. Her name is Dina. There are many animals in the farm like a cow, a goat and a rabbit. Dina likes to feed animals. She also likes to fish in the pond. I like this book because there are many colours and animals.’
My Mother’s Kitchen (2013)
Dina helps her mother cook a meal and talks about all the ingredients that go into fish curry, bubur chacha and sambal petai. Naim, 6 years old, really liked the book. His dad said it was ‘challenging for him to read some of the more unusual words such as the names of the spices, which was good to expand his vocabulary and reading skills. When we came across the sambal, he said, “Is that the spicy stuff?” and when we came across the pestle and mortar he said “I know that, Mum’s got one of those.” He could relate to the theme of the book, which really helped keep his interest to the end.’
My Mother’s Garden (2010)
Inspired by Yusof’s memories of her mother’s garden, the story is an easy one about the plants and animals that feature in a typical Malaysian garden. But Danish, 4 years old, didn’t enjoy it much. His mum commented that it ‘was about a garden and we don’t have a garden or take them to gardens much so he couldn’t relate to it. He seemed to enjoy looking at the illustrations but maybe the book was a bit girly for him.’ We think this book is a nice first for the series, if a tad psychedelic. Dina also looks slightly creepy in this early offering.
Two by Two Opens 10 Sept
Dir Toby Genkel, Sean McCormack 2015 (US) There’s no sign of Noah, let alone Him upstairs, in this sweet but watery kids’ cartoon about the animals who got left off the Ark. Finny and his dad are fuzzy cute Nestrians, clumsy, flat-footed, trumpet-nosed beasts who don’t get past the Ark’s door security and sneak aboard with a pair of catlike creatures called Grymps. For grownups watching, the point is that these are animals who found themselves on the wrong side of evolution, which is mildly interesting. But nowhere near as interesting as the fact that the animals who make it, embarking twoby-two, are mostly parents and kids – which doesn’t bode well for the future of the species they’re saving from the flood. There are a couple of laughs. A bored voice announces over the PA ‘Sailing time: roughly 40 days and 40 nights.’ But the film’s let’s-all-worktogether message is samey and bland. By far the best thing about it is the monkeys: a sneering, nose-in-the-air chimpanzee butler and a knuckleheaded gorilla henchman. Cath Clarke
Hotel Transylvania 2 Opens 24 Sept
Dir Genndy Tartakovsky 2015 (US) There have been some changes at Hotel Transylvania. The hotel has opened to human guests and Mavis and Johnny have had a baby, Dennis. His lack of a vampiric nature bothers Count Dracula and the whole