|New Straits Times Annual 1980 p.95,96&97|
|It all stemmed from a burning wish to know... The Malay Mail Malaysia 1980/05/03|
|Shoko Lee--committed to a creative approach in child education by Shoba Devan/Her World/1979/Nov|
Source: New Straits Times Annual Malaysia 1980 pg. 95,96 &97
Once upon a starry midnight while out in the garden with her husband and a friend, Shoko Lee was struck by the clear Malaysian sky.
She had never seen skies so beautiful, not in Tokyo where she had come from, not anywhere else she had been to. How did the skies come into being? What were the stars doing up there? And what were they really?
She set out to find the answer. Science books gave her a whole lot of information. But she was not satisfied. For a long time she brooded over the matter and one day she realised that she just might have been going about things the wrong way.
There had been no answer for millions of years so why should she be the one to find THE answer.
Instead she would use her imagination to suggest an answer. That was to be her main preoccupation for the next four years.
In between helping her husband, Malaysian artist Lee Kian Seng, with his design projects (she is a graphic designer herself), she toyed with one idea after another and each one she dismissed until she came up with "Sunny Boy".
A tired Father Sun takes a rest leaving Sunny Boy to light up the skies and give power to the planets and bring happiness to all living things.
But Sunny Boy bungles. He digs his way to the centre of the earth, blows himself into a great ball of fire... and creates havoc. He has to go hurtling back into space to wake Father Sun up and have order restored.
It is a simple story but as Sunny Boy goes on his adventures, useful facts about the planets and their functions are presented in a way that's easily understood, especially by children.
Through what she terms as creative illustration, Shoko the artist, the storyteller and the child at heart communicates with the little ones.
"I don't set out to write and draw for children. That would have been harmful to creativity. It happens that I'm interested in everything, just like a curious child."
The secret of her success lies in her child-like approach to every subject, her ability to see with the mind and the eye of a child.
Her style of illustration goes well with children's books. And yet her works are not meant solely for children. "They are for adults as well" -- that is adults with a pure and adventurous spirit.
Shoko and her husband have no children yet, but she loves children and she pours out her concern for a child's 'natural' development in the books she writes for them and for their parents.
Cast of characters
1. Sunny Boy ...... the little son of
the Sun with a warm heart and good intentions but not always the best solutions.
2. Father Sun ...... the old and wise Sun, the light of the Universe's life.
3. The FullofHolees ...... inhabitants of the Planet FullofHoles, a cheerful people in spite of their handicaps; spend all their time observing stellar goings-on.
4. The Earthlings ...... inhabitants of the planet Earth; come in all shapes and sizes. The humanoid ones travel in many-legged vehicles called Crabmobiles.
5. The Dirtiones ...... Earthlings who live underground; not very pleasant-smelling creatures but much in demand by abovegound Earthlings.
6. Captain Abber the Grabber ...... so called because he'd like to grab as much fish as he can; a slimy character
7. Freddie 'Fingers' Fish ...... a quiet creature who lives in fear of ending his days being eaten as fish fingers.
source: The Malay Mail Malaysia 1980/05/03
It all stemmed from
a burning wish to know…
Sunny Boy is not merely a
figment of author Shoko LEE’s imagination. She is also the child she never
All her dreams and
curiosity about the universe went into producing the play, the main character
depicted in Shoko’s first book of the e same title.
Shoko, 32, has been in
Malaysia for the past eight years.
She describes Malaysia as
the ”ideal place to live in because of its natural beauty, clean air and
“It is also in Malaysia
that I first was inspired to write “Sunny Boy.”
She was looking sky-wards
one starry night, when all of a sudden she had this imperative urge to know how
really this wanderous (for wanderous it truly is) had come about.
“From then on, this
question of the Sun, the Moon, the world and the people in it, was forever
niggling at me. I felt sure others had to be wondering the same thing.”
Finally, when even science
books could not yield an answer completely satisfactory, she decided to try her
hand at answering them herself.
“After seven years
of research, I have finally come up with Sunny Boy,” she said.
Briefly, Sunny Boy is the
son of the Sun who decided to give his father a helping hand at his jobn of
keeping g the universe warm and sunny.
But being quite alien to
the new task, he caused things to go topsy-turvy when he opted to do his job
From then on, everything
just went to pieces and the earthlings began to complain.
He ran to consult his
father the Sun, who then smoothed things over in a jiffy.
Even as Sunny Boy is
launched, Shoko has already fot ready its sequel. On the list is Sunny Boy and
The Ice Princess and the Red Buffalo.
“I will continue to write about the adventures of Sunny Boy and will use places like Pulau Tioman and Kuantan at the setting,” Shoko says.
Source: Her World/1979/Nov
Shoko LEE committed to a creative approach in child education by Shoba Devan
Shoko LEE -- creative writer of children's books......
(note: under construction)
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