cover of Sampu Pataas, Sampu Pababa leaves you grinningly smiling
If there's one style of illustration and story line of children's books that I would enjoy reading - although as an adult - over and over again, Sampu Pataas, Sampu Pababa written by Russell Molina and illustrated by Conrad Raquel, is definitely one of them. Simply because it's funny and smart, aptly made for discovering mathematics−a boring subject for a kid−in an unusual way.
The book reminds me of the quirky writing style of Jon Scieszka; the sarcasm of an innocent mind, unapologetic characters, and unexpected twists and transition of scenes. I believe Sampu Pataas, Sampu Pababa dispels a child's fear of dealing with numbers, it offers instead how to relate simple, everyday objects and scenarios to mathematics. The story is easy to read while an important issue is also weaved in, it's amazing how the writer stitched them all together.
The illustrations are imaginative and laden with humor. It may not be the usual sweet characters we often love in local children's books, but it offers another visual perspective on a slice of life. The humor is visually smart: the expressions of the characters alone are enough to leave you laughing at the side. I'm sure kids will be snorting when they see them. My favorite part is the descriptive illustration of the stick, it definitely puts personality on the character and story, a clear example of how illustration can expand interpretation beyond the texts.
Sampu Pataas, Sampu Pababa is a highly recommended children's story book on mathematics from Adarna House. To make a list of reasons why, ten is not enough.