There is nothing my little boy loves more than getting new books.
So you can imagine how his eyes lit up when a new book arrived in the post for us to review -- Maxilla. I might not have mentioned it, but my son really loves bugs and insects. He's constantly asking us to stop on walks to peer at little creepy crawlies and is quite fascinated with them. This book, therefore, was right up his alley.
The first book by local author Lianne Ong, Maxilla is based on the true events that happened when Lianne's family was living in the Bay Area, California. A little boy named Reuben finds a caterpillar in his school garden one day and decides to keep her for a pet. He names her Maxilla and looks forward to seeing her grow into a butterfly. Unfortunately Reuben soon finds out that Maxilla is a special caterpillar that can only thrive in her natural habitat. Should Reuben keep Maxilla or release her back into the wild? That is the tough choice he has to make.
I wouldn't spoil the story for you but suffice to say that Reuben learns the important lesson about respecting nature and love.
I'll also tell you a funny thing that happened to us just before we read the book: we ourselves found a little caterpillar at home. I'm guessing that it must have followed us back after our excursion the previous day. Whatever the case, the children were both tremendously excited. We nudged it gently into a container and they both spent a long time observing the caterpillar, which Noey promptly christened Boobee.
The children hastily went to pluck leaves from, erm, my neighbour's plants to give to Boobee but when he proved to be uninterested, Noey got worried. I told him that we'd do a bit more research to find out what Boobee might like to eat, but while I was away on an errand subsequently, he got my helper to bring him downstairs to release Boobee into the garden patch at the bottom of our block. "So that he can find his own food," Noey said.
So as you can imagine, Maxilla really struck a chord with him. "I give it 6 out of 5 stars!" he said. His favourite bit was the beautiful illustrations by Shing, an acclaimed artist who is based in Japan. I also liked the little section on the life cycle of a butterfly at the end of the book -- a little learning point that tied in neatly with the story. My only complaint is the uneven handwriting font for the text which I felt was not the nicest or easiest to read.
Now you also have a chance to win a copy of Maxilla for yourself as I have THREE COPIES (each worth $9.90) to give away! To enter, simply follow use the Rafflecopter widget below. The more options you complete, the higher your chances of winning. Two winners will be selected at random.
Wait, there's more!
I also have ONE BUTTERFLY KIT to give away! With this butterfly kit from Oh Farms, you can have the opportunity to keep a caterpillar in and watch it's transformation into a butterfly. The butterfly kit and one copy of Maxilla will be given to the person who leaves me the most interesting comment on this blog (as judged by me) to the question "Why do you want to win the butterfly kit and a copy of Maxilla?" The winner must be able to pick up the butterfly kit from a central location.
If you'd like to find more about Maxilla, Lianne Ong will be making a couple of public appearances at the following times and venues:
- 15 March (Sat) @ MPH Bookstores Parkway Parade, from 1 to 2pm
- 21 March (Fri) @ Woodlands Regional Library Programme Zone, from 12pm to 1 pm.
Do also visit Maxilla's Facebook Page for the latest updates.
If you'd like to find out more about butterflies here are some places which you might wish to consider visiting:
1. Butterfly Park & Insect Garden ($16/ adult, $10/child)
Located in Singapore's Sentosa Island, surrounded with lush tropical greenery, Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom showcases the stunning beauties of a different variety of beautiful butterflies and interesting insects. A must - see outdoor experience for children, tourists and nature lovers alike, Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom has wowed visitors from all over the world. With the scents, sights and sounds of an authentic tropical rainforest, it's a multi - sensory, interactive experience that's guaranteed to engage you from start to finish.
2. Oh Farms Butterfly Lodge (Guided tour at $5/person)
The Butterfly Lodge is a butterfly-friendly flight cage which is created to allow visitors to observe and enjoy the butterflies in a landscaped garden environment. Visitors get to learn about the ecology and conservation of butterflies as well as appreciate the diversity and beauty of Singapore's butterfly fauna.
The habitats within the Butterfly Lodge are carefully designed to allow the butterflies to fly freely and go about their daily activities with as little interference as possible. The plants - featuring both butterfly host and nectaring plants, are selected to best encourage sustainability and survival of the butterflies and to illustrate the close relationship between butterflies and plants in nature.
One of the main objectives of the Butterfly Lodge is to provide an educational facility for students and enthusiasts to learn about butterflies, understand their behaviour and how to enhance the biodiversity and promote butterfly conservation efforts in Singapore for future generations to enjoy these Nature's Flying Jewels.
3. Hort Park Butterfly Garden (Free, but currently closed)
This used to be our favourite place to observe and get close to butterflies. Unfortunately, it's recently been closed to make way for a bigger enclosure. There is no information on when it will be re-opened.
4. Changi Airport Butterfly Garden (Free, Terminal 3, Departure Transit Lounge Level 2 & 3)
Nestled in Terminal 3 is the home to over one thousand butterflies. The butterfly garden, an all-time favourite, is the first of its kind to be featured in an airport. Educational corners and individual enclosures allow visitors to gain insight into the life cycle of a butterfly. You can even witness the birth of a gorgeous butterfly as it exits its pupae stage and takes its first flight at the Emergence Enclosure.
This is within the transit and departure lounge so something to note the next time you take a trip!
* We were provided a copy of Maxilla for the purpose of this review. Copies of Maxilla for giveaway are kindly sponsored by MPH. I'm sponsoring the butterfly kit on my own.