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Children’s books reviewed

Sherlock Sam Series, A.J. Low ( Epigram Books)
Sherlock Sam and the Missing Heirloom in Katong
106 pages

Sherlock Sam is Singapore’s greatest kid detective. He enlists the help of his trusty robot Watson in solving mysteries on the island. In this first book, Sherlock tries to find a precious heirloom cookbook which has been lost by his friend Jimmy’s aunt.

No one in the whole extended family can eat Auntie’s yummy food until they find the cookbook, so Sherlock Sam helps them find it.

I like this book because it leaves you with questions in your mind which make you want to keep reading. You could read it if you were seven, but you would comprehend it more if you were about nine. We live in the East Coast and drive past lots of the landmarks mentioned in the book, so it’s very familiar.

Sherlock Sam and the Ghostly Moans in Fort Canning
114 pages

Sherlock Sam stumbles on another adventure when his school goes on a field trip to Fort Canning Park. They find a sally port, which is an entrance to the Battle Box that was left behind from World War II. They hear ghostly moans from it and are scared.

Sam and his dad go out that night and investigate, but run away because they hear the ghostly moans again.

I kept reading because I wanted to know who was responsible for the moans and I liked the ending! But never read this book at night alone.

The author’s name is A.J. Low, which is a combination of the names of the young couple, an American and a Singaporean, who write these books.
Greta Roberts (9)

Ellie Belly: Huffy Puffy Pand
Eliza Teoh, illustrated by Wolfe and Caroline Tan (Bubbly Books)
130 pages

When it was released in April, the fifth book in the Ellie Belly series hit The Straits Times bestseller list. This demonstrates two things: the popularity of Ellie Belly and the spending power of seven-to-10-year-old girls.

If you haven’t yet come across this series by talented local author Eliza Teoh, it’s based on the adventures of a rambunctious girl who is full of curiosity and zest for life. My nine-year-old daughter, Greta, reads and re-reads these stories.

Check out the very active Facebook page for all things Ellie Belly, plus some helpful recommendations for other suitable books.
Katie Roberts

Around the World with Sophie and Remy
Ravie Khing, illustrated by Kristine Hakim ( Open Book)
99 pages

Based on an idea and recipes by Balzac Brasserie chef Jean-Charles Dubois, this is part children’s adventure and part cookbook. It’s the story of two European children who travel around the world, meet otherchildren along the way, learn to cook authentic recipes (which can be safely attempted by young readers) and discover new cultures. 

The colour illustrations are beautiful, with lots of references that children will pick up, even if they are not strong readers. The glossary is helpful for older readers to look up terms that may be unfamiliar. There are some small grammatical errors, however.

Proceeds go to Open Book, an NGO-run library in Phnom Penh that offers a safe place for children to read.
Katie Roberts