This month we’ve reviewed a new children’s book, The Orangutan Who Sang, written by Jay Vincent. The first part of a multipart series aimed at 3-8-year olds, Jay explores difficult themes such as shyness, bullying and friendship allowing parents to engage with their young ones in a way they perhaps haven’t before.
Olly is a shy but funky Orangutan who has an incredible voice and loves to sing but can’t control his nerves enough to get any words out. After falling from his perch in his favourite tree, Olly is so embarrassed that he leaves his friends and seeks sanctuary in the jungle. Will Olly discover something on his adventure that means he’ll finally be able to overcome his fears and do what he was born to do… sing?
Why did I write the books?
Two reasons; the first is that when looking at society today, you see substitutes for actual conversations. Children as young as two have an iPad shoved in their faces rather than parents having “actual” conversations. The questions at the end of each book are there to encourage parents and children to talk about whatever subject is key to the story, which in the first case is shyness… It’s a small step but the main idea here is that children are subliminally spoke to about the difficult subjects and to aid parents in doing so.
Secondly, I was bullied extremely badly at school which has no doubt shaped my character to this day. Since becoming a father, I realise that every child is different but the overwhelming urge to protect them regardless is omnipresent. One of my children is extremely shy, so I got thinking about how I start preparing them now for the challenges that life will present. My second child is life of the party but was picked on at age four, so how do you show them that it will all be ok? No one encourages our children to talk about it. This was the driving force behind the books/series called Muddled Monkeys and the hope is that we later target older children with more stories.
What sets our book apart?
The amazing illustrations included are exceptionally detailed compared to many other children’s books and the story itself is written in rhyming couplets which is both a dying art form and artistically challenging. We also include a question section at the end which means that when the stories over, you can discuss with your child why different characters acted the way they did.