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What a Wonderful World

What a Wonderful World

2016 is coming to an end and while it has been a terrible year for many, it’s hard not to feel a little Christmas cheer seeping into our hearts when we feast on good food and surround ourselves with the people we love. There’s still time to catch up on the festive season if you haven’t yet quite gotten into the mood. Note: The 12 days of Christmas starts from the 25th. You’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise since Santa Claus will be replaced by the God of Fortune before we even get past 5 Gold Rings.

As I was strolling back home last night, trying to walk off the additional serving of log cakes I thought I was too full to have, I found myself reminiscing the good old days and humming a classic by Louis Armstrong.

 …and I think to myself – what a wonderful ….world.

If you are a fan of classic songs reimagined as children’s book content then you are going to love What A Wonderful World; based on the lyrics of – and you probably guessed it – Louis Armstrong’s song of the same title. There are a couple of versions of What A Wonderful World in circulation but my favourite is the one illustrated by Tim Hopgood.

This delightful picture book is filled with color-saturated paintings of diverse children celebrating life. The story follows a young boy on a wondrous journey through our beautiful world.  

Hopgood’s choice of colour palette and art style encapsulates the mood of the lyrics as a standalone story without depending on the song’s popularity to engage the reader. It is available in hardcopy publication which should come in very useful when you are training your little one to read independently. Should you be required to read this as a bed time story, on repeat for fifty times, you can take the opportunity to discover/showcase your vocal prowess.

What A Wonderful World has all aspects for children’s literacy development you have come to expect of children’s book. The real value I found is how the song we knew so well is presented to us through the eyes of children. When the words reveal itself with every turn of the page, the meaning of each line becomes more poignant.

 “I see skies of blue and clouds of white.”

 Such a simple line with impeccable poetic metre, that appears to be teaching children about colours but yet instilling in us a sense of awareness for the mundane in our daily lives.

 “They'll learn much more than I'll ever know.”

It opens our eyes to the simple things and helps us see that there is so much to be grateful for. Rushing around with the hustle and bustle of daily life, as adults we have grown accustomed to doing things by rote. But children on the other hand are constantly learning and discovering the joys of life. We inculcate in them values to be better people when they grow up, but sometimes we forget what they really mean.

If there’s one book I would recommend you get for the holidays, this would be it. As a parting note to this article, I leave you with this line to ponder on.

“I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do

But they're really saying I love you.”

Merry Christmas everybody, and have yourself a jolly, rocking, good time.

Written by Eugene Tay, founder of Brain & Butter and Monsters Under the Bed.

When Eugene was a young boy, he wanted to be an astronaut. When that didn't take off, he decided that he was going to be like Indiana Jones and explore the world as an archaeologist. Eventually, he figured out how he can do both. That's when he became a writer.

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