It is a well-known fact that authentic learning is one of the best forms of learning. From applying what we have read and studied to actually seeing and visiting the places which we have read and, if we are lucky, perhaps even interviewing the author or seeing an experiment come to life!
As adults, we feel the anticipation when seeing our favourite books bring brought to life on the big screen. In fact, the excitement is enhanced when we have the opportunity to visit places described in our books. From touring the Bard’s Stradford-Upon-Avon in London to Tolkien’s Middle Earth in New Zealand, there’s simply ‘nothing like the real thing’ to deepen our love for reading.
Imagine that happening to the stories that our children read! How much more impactful it can be for the young impressionable readers! To be able to see the Merlion, ride the MRT and savour Peranakan cuisine, Singaporean elements featured in the Danger Dan series of books co-authored by local Mom-and-daughter duo, Lesley-Anne (only 16 years old!) and Monica Lim. They have created in Danger Dan characters and settings which can be brought to life right before readers’ very eyes, right here in this tiny red dot we call home. This makes the plots more intriguing, yet at the same time, more believable and yes, the learning more effective.
Elements from our heritage, like The ‘Kachang-Putih’ Man…a familiar sight in the 1960-70s, but more uncommon now…are brought to life in Danger Dan.
Elements of our local way of life and history such as the familiar ice-cream carts and Sir Stamford Raffles…are all incorporated into the exciting plots.
The Danger Dan series revolves around an ordinary Primary 5 boy in Singapore, Danny, who lives his alter ego life as Singapore’s secret superhero – ‘Danger Dan’. A mysterious time-warp has altered certain events in Singapore’s history so Dan and his 14-year-old friend from the future, Melody (whom he calls Gadget Girl) had to travel back to specific bits of Singapore’s history in their special time machine (our humble MRT!) to get it fixed and save the day.
Danger Dan is a very refreshing series because it is uniquely Singaporean. Familiar elements (such as names of local places, food, way of life and even famous local personalities like Raffles, Zubir Said and soccer legend Quah Kim Song!) have been woven seamlessly into the plots to foster a deeper appreciation of our heritage and history. The fast-paced, entertaining plots and creative blend of fact and fiction keep the young readers riveted. Once Dana started reading, she was so engrossed she was reluctant to put it down even at mealtimes or bedtime!
Danger Dan introduces readers to the ‘recipes’ of Singapore life…including Laksa!
Our daughter just can’t put the books down once she got started!
The humorous writing makes the Danger Dan series very accessible, even for emergent readers. With Danger Dan, history is no longer boring. In fact, Dana started asking us more questions about Singapore’s past which throws up many topics for family dinner conversations! Each book also ends with two pages of ‘Fascinating Facts’, which provide additional background information about the time period, people and places covered in that title. Did you also notice that the book titles are alliterative? The beauty of literature! For kids who are predominantly visual learners, the larger fonts, colourful page covers and cute illustrations make the series even more appealing.
From fiction to facts…what a wonderful way to learn Singapore’s heritage and customs!
While we are largely familiar with well-known authors from around the world, it’s time that as Singapore comes of age, we celebrate and support our very own talented, aspiring authors with their treasure-troves of well-written literature, of which the Danger Dan series is definitely one. So happy reading!
Don’t just take our word for it, read what other families have to say about Danger Dan:
What kids (and their Mommies) say about Danger Dan:
1. I like the Danger Dan series because: a. There is time travelling b. It is about Singapore c. There is a girl from the future who finds a way to time-travel, meets Dan, goes through a gateway to the past of Singapore to correct stuff that goes wrong. ~ Isaac Tan, 8.
Mommy Pam: I would recommend other children to read this series of books as it is rare to have books based in Singapore settings, and with some historical background too.
2. I laughed non-stop when I read Danger Dan books because they are so interesting and funny. There are many helpful tips on Singapore’s history for children and parents. I enjoyed it very much. ~ Dana Joy, 7.
Mommy Angie: The stories are fun to read and an ideal introduction to Singapore’s history. The clear, concise English (yes not all children’s books are written grammatically!), peppered with good use of verbs, idioms, adjectives and humourous dialogue distinguish the series as good junior fiction. We’re so glad to be introduced to Danger Dan!
3. I love Danger Dan (the series) because it’s really funny! Danger Dan is my favourite character because he’s so clumsy and he makes me laugh. I also like Melody because she has so many gadgets and I think it is so funny that she’s scared of little birds! ~ Noey, 7.
Mommy Vera: Noey was engrossed with Danger Dan the moment he started reading, and when I took a flip through the books myself, I understood why. The stories are engaging and funny, and I could see how it would appeal to its target audience of primary school children. As a parent, I love the fact that the series is based on the characters travelling through time and engaging with events and persons in Singapore’s history so Noey is learning some local history at the same time. Two thumbs up for Danger Dan!
4. Danger Dan is very clever and brave. He saves people who need help and the books are interesting! ~ Kayla Ang, 7.
Mommy Joanne: I like the local flavor in Danger Dan that all Singaporeans can relate to as well as the humor and the positive values that are shared!
The Danger Dan series is proudly Singaporean and proudly supported by the National Arts Council.
#1 Danger Dan Confronts the Merlion Mastermind
#2 Danger Dan Tackles the Majulah Mayhem
#3 Danger Dan Spooks the Peculiar Peranakan Pirate
#4 Danger Dan Traces the Perilous Poison
#5 Danger Dan Creates the Ultimate Utama Uproar
A special historical companion to the Danger Dan series, Danger Dan Uncovers the Secrets of Singapore, will be released mid-2015 to commemorate SG50. Like the Danger Dan Facebook page for updates!