Alphabet book created by S'poreans features Southeast Asian mammals like colugo & Raffles' banded langur

Cute and educational.

Ashley Tan | September 27, 2021, 12:11 PM

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A beautifully illustrated book featuring Southeast Asian mammals was launched in Singapore on Sep. 15 after two years in the making.

The book, "Marvellous Mammals: A Wild A to Z of Southeast Asia", was drawn and written by local illustrator Darel Seow and expert wildlife ecologist Debby Ng, respectively.

It is touted to be the first alphabet book that features mammals hailing from this particular region.

Photo courtesy of Difference Engine

Detailed illustrations

The hardcover book boasts full-colour pages of detailed illustrations and a brief description of each mammal.

Along with some bite-sized facts, readers get to learn more about the various creatures' habitats, feeding habits and behaviours.

Photo courtesy of Difference Engine

Photo courtesy of Difference Engine

The A to Z of these animals range from those more commonly heard of like the orangutan and tapir, to the elusive, like that of the Annamite striped rabbit seen only the mountains of Laos and Vietnam, and the practically-mythical horned Xoong Xor (which resembles an antelope of sorts).

Some mammals native to Singapore can also be found in the book, such as the colugo, Raffles' banded langur and wild boar.

Photo courtesy of Difference Engine

Greater appreciation for Southeast Asian biodiversity

Ng shared that the region of Southeast Asia was highlighted in particular as it is "so special" but had few books and stories about it.

In order to research and write the book, she consulted scientific papers, historical records by both colonial explorers and local explorers, local literature, and scientists in the field.

Limiting Southeast Asia's diversity of mammals to only 26 to feature in the book was a tough process as well.

Ng said that she wanted to represent as diverse a group of mammals as possible, and therefore include some familiar critters and some stranger and more obscure ones.

Photo courtesy of Difference Engine

Aside from information about the mammals, the book also contains educational factoids on the important of rainforests in Southeast Asia and the threats they face.

It also leaves readers with some parting thoughts on how humans can coexist with wildlife in an urbanising environment like Singapore.

Photo courtesy of Difference Engine

Seow, the illustrator, shared that, growing up, he was obsessed with nature, and he hopes that the book "starts readers on an adventure of learning about—and how to live alongside—our unique Southeast Asian wildlife."

Scientists and advocates have praised the book for helping to generate a greater interest and appreciation of Southeast Asian biodiversity.

Available in-stores and online

If this has pique your interest, you can grab a copy of "Marvellous Mammals: A Wild A to Z of Southeast Asia" from these bookstores:

  • BooksActually
  • Closetful of Books
  • Kinokuniya Singapore
  • Epigram Books
  • Woods in the Books

The book costs S$22.90 without GST. A free sticker sheet comes with every purchase.

Soon, you will also be able to purchase it online here.

Top photo courtesy of Difference Engine