26 June 2012

Kuya Na Si Bunso (No, This Is Not An Announcement!)



There aren't enough Filipino children's books out there.  At bookstores the rack of Filipino authors is always on the lean side.  It is also usually filled with books that seem to follow an archaic formula.  Most books are legends or what we call alamats.  We love the books we have, The Legend of the Carabao and The Legend of the Crocodile are the favorites of the earthlings, but I am sure a we can do something else.  Something that is funny or contemporary or more adventurous or something the kids can relate to.

When I found out that Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan was launching a new book called Kuya Na Si Bunso I was a bit skeptical.  I was hoping that it would be something different and not the usual legend we are all kinda sick of in Casa Guerrero but I really wasn't expecting much.  Well Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan did not disappoint, Kuya Na Si Bunso is an excellent book.  It is well written, it is entertaining and it is something children can absolutely relate to.  While the main character of the book is going through a rough time, wondering what will happen to him when the new baby is born and he no longer will be the bunso (youngest child), it isn't only for kuyas to be.  Any child who feels a pang of sibling rivalry and jealousy will understand what the hero is going through.  

One thing that makes me a fan of this book is that it address this mean and annoying tendency Filipino people have of teasing children in the most ridiculous and inappropriate ways.  Whether it is the yaya (nanny) telling the child that if she does something wrong the police are going to come and get her or a parent telling a child that they are so fat or extended family asking a little boy what is he going to do now that he isn't the bunso.  It is just plain wrong.  Shocking that at this day and age people still do this, you'd think we all know better.

You can tell that this book was written from the heart and this is what makes it special.