Whenever we visit the Philippines I try and drop by National Bookstore. I love bringing back Tagalog kids’ books for Squishy.
One of our favorite finds this year is Mmmmm…Sarap! (Mmmmm…Delicious!) from Anvil Publishing.
I was drawn to the titular character, a round, hungry bangaw (blowfly) who encounters yummy Filipino dishes. Is he (or she) brave enough to try new tastes?
The bangaw is eager to try classics such as tinola (chicken soup in ginger broth) and ginataan (the illustration shows the sweet dessert with glutinous rice balls, pearls, and sago — though ginataan can refer to a lot of dishes cooked in coconut milk).
However he balks at sinigang (a sour, tamarind soup usually cooked with pork or shrimp) and dinuguan (a savory stew made from pork offal, pork blood, and vinegar — trust me, it tastes better than it sounds!).
Sinigang? Ang asim yata niyan?” (Sinigang? Isn’t that sour?”) he wonders.
The narrator encourages him to overcome his fears and questions: “Huwag matakot tikman!” (Don’t be afraid to taste it!)
It’s a gentle, consistent message throughout the book — give it a try, don’t be afraid.
In the end, the bangaw succeeds in overcoming his fears and ends up full, healthy — and sleepy (of course!).
The illustrations throughout the book are unique in that these are fabric pictures. The blowfly’s wings, the palayok (clay pot), all use fabric from ANTHILL, which stands for Alternative Nest and Trading/Training Hub for Indigenous/Ingenious Little Livelihood Seekers. ANTHILL showcases Filipino hand-loomed fabrics and uses them to make stylish, contemporary stuff.
Mmmmm…Sarap! is a light book to enjoy with your kids. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s fun for the parents who read along too.
The authors, Ana de Borja Araneta and Krie Reyes Lopez, intend it to be:
…Ibig namin sanang gumawa ng mga aklat na nakatutuwa. Kumuha rin kami sa mga karanasan sa tunay na buhay.
Mula sa lambingan ng magulang at anak, ito ang mga paksa sa aming mga aklat:
- Ang pagtuklas sa sariling katawan sa kiliti, pagtikim at pang-amoy. (Mas madali kasi isulong ang kalusugan kapag komportable sa katawan ang bata.)
- Ang kalikasan, sa pagtanghal ng mga kulisap at hayop mula sa ating pang-araw-araw na buhay.
- Ang ating kultura, sa paggamit ng mga katutubong disenyo mula sa mga tela at habi ng katutubong kababayan.
Maybe that’s why Squishy loves the pair’s other works, books with “distinguished” titles like Kokak! Kokak! (the Filipino version of the sound a frog makes, a.k.a. Ribbit! Ribbit!) and Prrrrrt…Utot! (the Filipino word for fart — haha). 😀
Mmmmm…Sarap! (Anvil Publishing)
By Ana de Borja Araneta & Krie Reyes Lopez
Php 175 at National Bookstore