We’re celebrating National Children’s Book Day here in Manila on July 21 (annually, the 3rd Tuesday of July) to commemorate the publication of Jose Rizal’s “The Monkey and the Turtle” on Trubner’s Oriental Record in London.
Part of the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY)'s digital celebration is a blog tour of people in the industry, and I was invited ti be part of it this year. So here goes:
This week’s theme is:
Hulyo 7 – 13: Paboritong Aklat
Ano ang paborito mong aklat pambata at pangkabataan? (Kailangang isinulat o iginuhit ito ng isang Pilipino. Maaari namang maglista nang higit sa isa pa.)
My favorite books are Naku Naku Nakuu! Written (written by Nanoy Rafael and illustrated by Sergio Bumatay iii) and Porcupirate (by Robert Magnuson).
For Naku, Nakuu, Nakuuu! , I liked the painterly quality of its illustrations and the use of a lot of symbolism and abstraction. I liked how the dark illustrations remind me of the handcrafted quality of how fine art can be woven into illustration.
For Porcupirate, I liked how the pages are cut up into panels that describe smaller scenes in the story. I also like the comic quality to it, the use of expressive animal characters and the overall production quality on matte bookpaper that made it feel like a classic.
It is not a surprise with the author-illustrator genius behind it, that made sure the the physical specs were set to proper standards for its genre. I have loved his works since Junior inquirer days where he could mesh up tight comic scenes into short comic strips.
The best thing i loved about it is that it does not involve anything melodramatic, it does not depict our country in the usual 3rd world stereotypes that international news brands us, and it is also not overly rub-into-your-face Filipino, or overly preachy for some nationalistic or religious thing that all Filipino kids "should" love. It just exemplifies, in a touching story, how a child's love for a father can be a magical thing. I think this is what struck me most because as a kid, I never liked anything that made me feel i was being told something or if a reading material was overly preachy on some lesson that the writers behind it were so adamant about. I went to school to learn. I went to church for faith. I had parents for everything in between. So I read books for the pure fun of it.
And if this book came out in the late 80's, I would have loved to have it.