You can’t always trust a book by its cover, right? This is particularly true of The Food ABC by Christina Castle, simple-looking books for children that teach your kids some pretty amazing life lessons.
My son is driving me batty. In the first three weeks of school, he lost his swim trunks, a water bottle, another water bottle and an entire PE bag with a full uniform and brand-new school shoes.
Lucky for him, his hero older sister found the bag within a week, but the rest is a loss. No matter how prepared he is before he goes to bed, catching the bus on time is like running a marathon. Why? Because he wastes time searching for a lost library book or the like. It always ends with me closing the door, leaning against it and breathing in the sudden quietness of the house. When he comes home, I have to fight not to say, “So, what did you lose today?” Truth? He’s more frustrated than I am, poor kid.
Series about life lessons
So, when I first picked up Willy the Walnut, I literally laughed out loud. The first line reads “Willy was a sloppy nut.” This short, easy-to-read book for children is all about a walnut named Willy. Poor Willy is incredibly disorganised. He spends an entire day looking for stuff and misses his beloved rugby match (or so he thinks). In the end, Willy realises a clean room with a designated place for everything will help him get to where he needs to be on time and make his whole life a lot easier.
This book is just one of a delightful new series of ten children’s books called The Food ABC – and they’re actually not about food at all. Rather, each of the characters is a food with a cute little name who has a big life lesson to learn.
Take Lorenzo the Leek. His lesson is all about humility told through the story of a haircut gone wrong. It has a second lesson, too, where his friends learn not to plot revenge on another kid, no matter how full of himself he is.
Molly the Mushroom? Gosh, she’s a gullible little thing. She spends all the money she has on a silly contraption to make all her dreams come true. In the end, she learns not to believe everything she reads and not to be so trusting.
At first glance, the books look like they’re for little kids, and they are – sort of. The deeper meaning of the stories might be lost on toddlers, but they’ll still love the stories and cute drawings. Primary and even young middle schoolers, on the other hand, will likely eat up the lessons at hand. The covers may be simple, but the messages inside are a lot more sophisticated.
These clever books are written by a woman living right here in Singapore, who seems to have amazing insight into the brains of children. Her full-time job? She works in a bank in IT. Writing these books is a way for her to relax at the end of the day. And reading these books may be a way for parents to relax once the lessons sink in to your kiddos’ brains.
Personally, I can’t think of anything better than Willy the Walnut teaching my son to keep his things in order. It’s far better than me whining at him, or spending another useless 20 minutes at the school’s lost and found. I can’t wait to dive into the remaining books in this series and see what other golden nuggets of advice my kids might glean.
Want to get some of these books for yourself? Visit any of Singapore’s major bookstores or find out more here. The books are also available for borrowing at some of the National Public Libraries. The author is conducting storytelling sessions as well at places such as schools and clubs. Would you like her to come and tell your group a story, too? Great! Just send an email to email@example.com to schedule it.
Want more? See our Kids section!