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[Monday Reading] The Unbelievable Magic of Five Minutes as portrayed in Picturebooks

"Five Minutes" by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick and Illustrated by Olivier Tallec | "Who Wants A Mommy With A Moustache?" by Dalia Menhall Mirza and Maya Majdalani.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community. 

These two picturebooks are only tangentially related to our theme, but I still thought of sharing them, as they both demonstrate the magical quality of time: its fleeting beauty and the highly subjective nature of its passing.

Five Minutes [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick Illustrated by Olivier Tallec
Published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers (2019)
ISBN: 052551631X (ISBN13: 9780525516316). Borrowed from Singapore’s National Library Board Overdrive. Book photos taken by me. 

This is a fun picturebook that demonstrates so powerfully how five minutes can sometimes feel like forever, especially when a child is doing something that they would rather not do:

Yet the same five minutes could also fly by like a heartbeat when one is thoroughly enjoying one’s self:

I love how each page demonstrates the same boy experiencing the same five minutes in a myriad of ways. For most children, the concept of time can be too abstract, with all yesterdays or last week blurring into one another – even more so, the temporal experience of time passing.

I especially love the image above, where my five minutes can turn into five hours without me fully realizing what just happened. A lovely story that would also be perfect for a read-aloud.

Who Wants A Mommy With A Moustache? [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Dalia Menhall Mirza Illustrated by Maya Majdalani
Published by Turning Point Books (2015)
ISBN13: 9789953032399. Borrowed from Zayed Central Library. Book photos taken by me.

When I saw this book in our library shelves here in Al Ain, I immediately borrowed it, as the cover reminded me of the time when my daughter was less than a year old around 19 years ago, plus the title and the cover intrigued me.

The Author and Illustrator’s Notes at the beginning of the book suggest that this book is more targeted towards mothers as the possible audience, rather than a book meant for very young children; although I would argue that sensitive, bright-eyed toddlers would still be able to appreciate the story, depending on how it is introduced by the parent or the adult reader who is reading the book aloud.

It is also written as a double-sided book, with the right hand side showing the English version and the left hand side showing the Arabic version of the story. This was pretty ingenious, especially since the book is text-heavy, and having a bilingual text on the same page would just make the page too busy and crowded with words. See below for the Arabic version of the story.

While I personally found the rhyming text to be occasionally witty, I thought some were a trifle stilted. I felt that the narrative would have been more fluid and natural if not locked into a rhyming scheme, that I do not find to be necessary.

Regardless, this is an engaging book that most mothers who are primary caregivers of their children would definitely resonate with.

#ReadIntl2020 Update: Lebanon (Dalia Menhall Mirza and Mata Majdalani are both from Lebanon)

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

4 comments on “[Monday Reading] The Unbelievable Magic of Five Minutes as portrayed in Picturebooks

  1. That five minutes book looks delightful Myra. I wish I had had it when I was still in charge of my own classroom full of learners.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lindabaie

    I love Five Minutes, a clever book! And I know about the other one but still haven’t read it. Thanks, Myra!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Five Minutes is cute and very relatable.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sarah Sammis

    Interesting set of books this week. Five Minutes has my attention. My weekly update

    Liked by 1 person

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