The reason is simple, really: people who know this book can’t get enough of it.
Here are the top selling Wilkins Farago books at last weekend’s Clunes Booktown Festival:
- Why? by Lila Prap
- Sam and His Dad by Serge Bloch
- Waiting for Mummy by Tae-Jun Lee and Dong-Sung Kim
- 3 Wishes for Pugman by Sebastian Meschenmoser
- Kampung Boy by Lat
- Teaching Kids to Read by Fay Tran
- I Love Kissing You by Davide Cali and Serge Bloch
- The Bear with the Sword by Davide Cali and Gianluca Foli
- What is this thing called love? by Davide Cali and Anna Laura Cantone
- The Enemy by Davide Cali and Serge Bloch
What’s the most popular book trailer on Youtube? I don’t really know the answer to that question, but I’m thrilled to note that our video for Lat’s hilarious graphic novel Kampung Boy has now passed 70,000 views on Youtube. I guess that’s what’s meant by ‘going viral’. Quite amazing.
Have a look, and then see what all the fuss is about by buying the book Matt Groening describes as ‘one of the all time great cartoon books’ here.
Since then, another 10,000 people from all over the world have viewed the video—the figure as of this morning was 20,239 and growing.
Why? Put simply, people who read this book fall in love with this book. We certainly did, and you will too.
You can see it here:
To see more of our book videos, visit the Wilkins Farago YouTube Channel.
A short while ago, we published Kampung Boy, Lat’s wonderfully funny graphic novel about growing up in a Malaysian village. If you haven’t read it yet, you’re in for a treat.
The book is hugely popular in Asia, where Lat is a household name—even more so than favourites like Michael Leunig or Murray ‘Footrot Flats’ Ball are in Australia and New Zealand.
When I travelled to the 2009 Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair to meet with Lat, I had a copy of Kampung Boy with me on the flight. As soon as she saw the book, a flight attendant came over and immediately engaged me in conversation.
‘So, you know Lat?’ she smiled, excitedly. ‘He is a very famous Malaysian writer.’
‘You’ve read his books?’ I asked.
‘Everyone has read his books,’ was her reply. ‘Especially Kampung Boy.’
It’s hard to convey Lat’s (real name: Mohammad Nor Khalid) standing in his own country. In 1994, he was granted the honorary title of Datuk by the Malaysian Government. His cartoons are seen regularly in the national newspaper, the New Straits Times, a film and TV series of Kampung Boy was made in 1997, Malaysia has even issued postage stamps of his Kampung Boy drawings, and AirAsia has even decorated one of its Boeing 737s in his honour.
We discovered the book quite late. It was first published in Malaysia (in English, not Malay) in 1979 by Berita Pubishing, and had gone through 15 printings up until 2008. It has also been published in the US, France, Japan and Germany.
Still, much better late than not at all. The book has had rave notices, not the least of which was from Matt Groening, creator of ‘The Simpsons’ TV series, who said:
Sweet, funny, and brilliantly drawn, Kampung Boy is one of the all-time great cartoon books.
In Australia, Lat’s work has been likened to works as diverse as Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Colin Thiele’s Sun on the Stubble. It’s interesting too that our promotional video for the book is by far the most popular of our videos on Youtube to date, with about 6000 views in the nine months after publication.
If you have read this wonderful work, why not post your own mini review as a comment to this blog post and let’s tell the rest of the world what it’s missing!
The runaway success of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is a reminder that comics have never really been off the menu as far as kids are concerned. Malaysian cartoonist Lat is a master of the form and Kampung Boy will put a smile on the face of everyone who reads it.
Growing up beside a rubber plantation, Lat has a childhood that is seemingly carefree: swimming in the river, fishing, living in the love of his family, learning and drawing. But this story of a bright, adventurous boy also shows village life gradually giving way to change and the outside world. Lat’s bold caricatures of teachers, parents and friends are immediately funny, while his skill at comic understatement rewards close attention. Often the text doesn’t quite say what the pictures show and the memories are laced with poignancy. Kampung Boy is one to steal back after the young folk have enjoyed it.
If you haven’t already done so, you can enjoy the promotional video for the book on our Youtube channel here.