★★★☆☆ Book Review: Saturday’s Surprisingly Super-Duper Lesson by Jolene Tan and Isabella Tong
Colourful tale about the joy of doodling with vibrant illustrations and a cute story.
The key to making a good children’s book often involves having both a good story and good illustrations. Bonus points if there’s a good life lesson thrown into the mix. In Jolene Tan and Isabella Tong’s Saturday’s Surprisingly Super-Duper Lesson (SSSDL), that comes in the form of a lesson on creativity, and the power of art and imagination to counter boredom.
Nobody likes to be stuck in a lesson on a Saturday morning of course, but unfortunately for young Aish, she and her entire class are trapped in a classroom listening to Mr Firdaus drone on about equations and numerals. But as with every problem, it’s not long before a solution presents itself to her, taking the form of a multicoloured pencil that brings her drawings to life. Naturally, plenty of fun ensues.
At a little over 20 pages, Aish’s adventure isn’t a particularly long one, with the story keeping to a simple narrative as Aish and her classmates work their way towards crafting a super-duper roller coaster for their entertainment. On occasion, there will be words that are a little advanced for younger readers, such as ‘structure’, ‘pangolin’ and even ‘three-dimensional’, great for expanding their vocabulary.
Credit goes to illustrator Isabella Tong for bringing the tale to life with her bold, vibrant pages, with her depiction of each character’s face often perfectly capturing their expression. When she leans into the fantastic, her sense of scale and depth allow her drawings to feel as if they’re about to come off the page, cycling back to SSSDL’s central message of how an active imagination and a little art can keep kids entertained for hours on end.
Imaginative, colourful and perfect for a quick read with the whole family, SSSDL will pique your child’s interest in harnessing the power of art to chase ennui away. We only wish it were a little longer, so we could see what other creatures would sprout from Aish’s mind!
Recommended for: Parents looking to get their kids interested in doodling, and encourage their imagination and art-making from a young age.
Saturday’s Surprisingly Super-Duper Lesson is published by Epigram and available here