Book launch: ‘Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di & Xandy: Return to the S.E.A. Aquarium’ and the Ocean Dream Experience
Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
― Benjamin Franklin
It seemed so surreal, even for an adult like me to be there, in front of the world’s biggest aquarium tank, the Ocean Dome, watching the vast variety of marine life swimming leisurely in front of us and right at that moment, the book jumps to life – David Seow’s latest book: Return to the S.E.A. Aquarium.
The small handful of kids, invited by Singapore’s largest independent publisher, Epigram Books, were riveted as they listened to the book reading by acclaimed children’s author, David Seow and the amazingly talented illustrator, Soefara Jafney. Together, the duo brought his newly published book to life in the very venue where the story was set. It’s one thing to read a good story but definitely something else to experience it in full 3D glory.
A special book reading and a sleepover, right here at the Ocean Dome!
Return to S.E.A. Aquarium tells the story of Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di as they celebrate their brother, Xandy’s birthday by visiting the S.E.A. Aquarium and participating in the aquarium’s Ocean Dreams experience. During the sleepover, they interacted with the marine life, learning the importance of marine conservation and getting to see first hand, how unique these marine animals are.
The book proves to be an engaging read for kids (and their parents) as it explores themes of friendship and nature conservation through accessible plot and beautiful illustrations. It is a great addition to the rest of the Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di Series (12 books) written by David Seow which revolves around our local attractions. We enjoy reading this delightful series on Singapore and think every home library should own a copy!
Our very own homegrown talents, author David Seow and illustrator, Soefara Jafney.
The Ocean Dream Experience:
The S.E.A. Aquarium’s Ocean Dream Programme is an exciting overnight sleepover ‘camping’ experience that offers campers the exclusive visit of the entire aquarium after closing hours till the next day.
The highlight of the event includes a sleepover right in front of the Ocean Dome and visiting the back-end of the aquarium plus feeding some of the fishes. These, on top of the exclusive after-hours personalized tour of the entire aquarium by the friendly and knowledgeable aquarium guides. Imagine, the entire aquarium, all ours! No crowds!
Touring the S.E.A Aquarium after closing hours and having the marine creatures all to ourselves…
With the Ocean Dreams Programme, learning about the marine creatures became more effective as the friendly guides patiently explained the unique features of some of these marine life to us. There was also the beautifully printed quiz sheets for the kids to use to accompany the guide’s explanation. Along the way, there were specially designed games and quizzes to further enthuse the kids in learning about marine conservation and marine life.
Sleeping over right in front of the Ocean Dome tank was quite unforgettable and surreal. Imagine, what seemed like millions of these beautiful and elegant marine life – rays, fishes, sharks, gracefully ‘dancing’ by you as you are lulled to sleep. It was indeed once in a lifetime experience which everyone should try.
The mysteries of the ocean never fail to captivate us…
The next morning, we were woken up by the friendly divers who greeted us from inside the tank. After breakfast, we were treated to the back-end experience where we were able to see how the marine-life were cared for. The kids were given a chance to feed some of the fishes too. What a treat! The Ocean Dream experience this time was also extra memorable due to the special reading session and book launch of David Seow’s book Return to the S.E.A. Aquarium. What a great way for the kids to learn first hand about the Marine creatures and the importance of marine conservation.
All marine creatures, weird and wonderful…
Here’s a peek into the book launch and the Ocean Dream experience:
F.A.Q. about the Ocean Dream Programme:
1. How long is it?
The programme runs from the evening of the first day, about 6:30pm till about 10 am the next day.
2. Are meals included?
The current programme provides supper comprising of snacks and drinks on the first day and breakfast for the next day. During the night stay, free-flow drinking water is provided.
3. Where do we sleep?
Participants sleep on the cleaned carpeted flooring in front of the Ocean Dome. Sleeping bags, towel and blankets are provided. Participants may be assigned different groupings and will also be assigned different areas on the Ocean Dome terrace to sleep on.
4. Can we go leave mid-way through the sleepover and rejoin later?
Unless there is an emergency, participants are expected to stay throughout the night.
5. Are there facilities to shower and freshen-up over there?
There are basic showering facilities with water-heating in the public washroom next to the Ocean Dome.
6. What do participants need to bring?
Participants can bring their own sleeping bags, towels and blankets (although provided). Participants should bring their own pillows and personal toiletries along with a change of clothes if needed. Participants should keep all these belongings in a small locked luggage bag.
7. Are photography / videography allowed?
Except for the back-end tour, photography and videography are allowed throughout the experience.
8. Do we really have the whole aquarium to ourselves?
Yes, along with those who are part of the programme. Having the entire aquarium to ourselves is a real treat – we do not need to jostle with others when we wanted to have a closer look at the marine creatures or to take photos and to learn more about them at our own pace.
9. What are the security arrangements during the programme?
Security and first aid is provided by the aquarium personnel however participants are encouraged not to bring personal valuables. All bags and personal items are the sole responsibility of the participants who should keep these next to them during the sleep-over.
10. What are the other special features of the programme?
The programme starts with the exciting Typhoon theater experience, which personally, is something we enjoy over and over again!
Hey, we found Dory!
Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di & Xandy: Return to the S.E.A. Aquarium
About the Author:
David Seow is a well-known children’s book writer and a staple on the Singapore literary scene. He is an award-winning children’s book author of twenty- three well-received children’s books, including the Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di Series (12 books), which feature his young niece and nephews as the main characters. Other titles include Alexander’s Adventure Machine and The Littlest Emperor. His latest books are There’s Soup on My Fly!,Blow A Kiss, If I Were a Blue Kangaroo and Emma’s Elephant.
About the Illustrator:
Soefara Jafney is an illustrator, art director and designer. She started out in a production house, creating a clothing line, then jumped head first into the advertising industry and finally found comfort in simply producing art. Her designs and illustrations can be found online and on site. Clients include, KFC, Jacobs, Maxis, Heineken, Nandos, The Star newspaper, Johnson’s & Johnson’s, Quaker, MILO, Nestle, Olympus, Guinness, Great Eastern among many others. Currently, she is honing her skills in children’s book illustrations. The Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di series of books are her first children’s books.
About Epigram Books:
Epigram Books is Singapore’s largest independent publisher. Having garnered a reputation for its well-designed and thought-provoking titles, the company was registered in July 2011 to champion Singaporean literature, and currently publishes an average of 30 to 40 titles every year. Popular titles include the bestselling graphic novel The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, middle grade series, The Diary of Amos Lee and the Harry picture book series. The company also made headlines in 2015 for initiating the Epigram Books Fiction Prize, Singapore’s richest literary award, in the hopes of uncovering the next great Singaporean novel. We especially love its vision, ‘Hold Singapore in Your Hands’.
Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di & Xandy: Return to the S.E.A. Aquarium (ISBN 978-981-4757-89-8 ) is available for purchase online here. It also retrails at major Singapore bookstores as well as the S.E.A. Aquarium gift shop at SGD 14.90.
Thank you Epigram Books for the most memorable Return to S.E.A Aquarium!