Kai the Dancing Butterfly, Crystal Z Lee, Allie Su (illus) (Balestier, February 2022)
Kai the Dancing Butterfly, Crystal Z Lee, Allie Su (illus) (Balestier, February 2022)

Kai and Ami are dancing butterflies from Taiwan! They have a performance coming up at the Winter Festival dance show in the southern part of the island. They are currently in northern Taiwan, so they need to hurry and start flying south. That’s far for a butterfly! Kai is worried about the long journey, and about the big show too. Can Kai step up to the challenge?

It’s become almost fashionable to write about lost Jewish communities around the world. Recent books have been published about Indian Jews and Jews in Harbin, along with those in the Philippines, to name a few. Now Zayn Gregory has come out with The Last Jews of Penang, illustrated by Arif Rafhan. It’s a short book and resembles a children’s picture book, yet is filled with interesting history going back almost two hundred years that can be enjoyed no matter what age.

There is no shortage of books to learn one’s ABCs and readers (and their parents) are spoiled for choice when it comes to thematic books from A-Z. But readers in Southeast Asia (or those with interest in the region) might wish to consider Marvellous Mammals: A Wild A to Z of Southeast Asia by Debby Ng and illustrated by Darel Seow as a top pick. Where else, for example, will “A” stand for the annamite striped rabbit?

In the opening scene of Sarah Brennan’s The Marvellous Adventures of Maggie and Methuselah, Maggie is arguing with her mother about having to attend a “silly reception” at Government House. But her mother, an Australian lawyer at one of Hong Kong’s top firms, is determined that Maggie will go to Family Fun Day and with the chapter titled “In which Maggie and Mum clash and Mum wins (as usual)”, the reader quickly realizes what the end result might be.

It’s Livy’s first day of sixth grade at her new school and Livy is understandably apprehensive. There are worries about new friends, about fitting in, about making her parents (who have sacrificed to send their only daughter to a school in a better district) proud. But Livy has more than nerves; following Livy to school is Viola, Livy’s anxiety brought to life as a violet-hued shadow that constantly rattles and second-guesses Livy’s thoughts and actions.