The comical tale of a housing estate lift that yearns for a direction in life beyond merely going up and down, Alif is Not Coming Down is a bilingual book about how readers can achieve far off dreams with some imagination and a little help from a friend. Published in sturdy hardcover, this book is accompanied by a CD in with readings in Malay and English.
Rife with humour, puns, and explorations of the fantastic, Zuzanita Zakaria’s story takes readers beyond the narrow lift confines to roam beyond Singapore’s borders, an exercise of the imagination that kids might be able to relate to right now. In a sly and cheeky narrative voice, Alif the lift and his human friend Zaki jet off to distant countries, back in history, and even into outer space.
To match this wackily imaginative story, Lee Anne’s expressive illustrations handily draws on a range of emotion in its depictions of its characters. Employing well-defined lines and a wide array of colours, Alif’s cartoony frustrations, dismay, curiosity, and delight are all clearly telegraphed. The illustration makes good use of the effect of a lift’s doors sliding open to introduce new characters and settings in an organic and visually fun manner.
This universally funny tale provides an engaging avenue for learning Malay alongside the story. Unlike some of Singapore’s other official languages, Malay is phonetic and easier to pick up alongside a side-by-side English translation. For kindergarteners who love funny stories or anyone looking to brush up on Malay, this is a wonderful pick for the upcoming week.
This post is part of our series for the duration of the Circuit Breaker measures to shine a spotlight on SingLit books that we find to be uniquely encouraging. If you already own the book, perhaps you might want to dig out your copy to read again. If you don’t already have it, you can click here to purchase Alif Tidak Mahu Turun | Alif is Not Coming Down from Woods in the Books.