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Outfitted in denim blue jeans, yellow shirt, red and white polka-dot necktie, and bright red baseball cap, Mr. Buffy is a fluffy buff-colored cat and the leading character in the unique and very large (size A-3)Arabic-English book.
According to author Nancy Collisson, this debut publication in a series was developed to promote dynamic features of Dubai and to elicit from parents and children of all nationalities the sense that we all might try to be more like Mr. Buffy: curious, affable, and tactful.
In reality, "Mr. Buffy," Collisson’s pet cat, is exactly the same as his fictional namesake. "He greets everyone with enthusiasm and disarming charm. Everyone loves Mr. Buffy," she said. Both the fictional and the real Mr. Buffy recently moved to Dubai from the deep woods of northern Wisconsin, where Collisson also makes her home.
As an example of the unique text and illustrations featured in the book, the letter "V" focuses on Mr. Buffy’s experience observing ladies entering a cinema who are wearing different sorts of veils.
Seeing them from where he stands behind a cinema curtain, which he imitatively lifts and holds just beneath his eyes, Mr. Buffy innocently wonders how they will be able see the movie in the dark. He appropriately concludes: "some Arabic women wear veils because they like to feel the protection and privacy the veil provides. Did you ever wonder, like me, what it’s like to wear a veil?"
In keeping with Mr. Buffy’s desire to demonstrate how people of all ethnic backgrounds and religions can get along, in one picture he is featured balancing on one hand while riding a skateboard through a Dubai Park surrounded by adoring and laughing children from all over the world.
The accompanying text reads: "People move to Dubai from all over the world and they speak many different languages. Even though we don’t completely understand one another, we all laugh and cheer the same way whenever somebody shows off!"
Each detailed illustration – the product of the work of several artists – and its accompanying text informs children and tourists that sites located in Dubai provide opportunities to learn and are fun.
Other sites featured in what Collisson refers to as "this coffee-table coloring book for kids from 9 to 99," include Children’s City, the Gold Souk, Internet City, Jebel Ali Port, Nad Al Sheba Club, and The Palm (of the Palm Island Project).
Mr. Buffy also makes observations about and is featured riding on an abra, training a falcon, sporting henna designs on his arms, and enjoying some sweets at a Ramadan celebration held at the famous Jumeirah Mosque.
The Mr. Buffy book has received the endorsements of the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding – Open Hearts Open Minds, Children’s City, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Summer Surprises 2002, Dubai Shopping Festival 2003, Wild Wadi Waterpark and the Dubai Ports Authority. It has also received the approval of each organization featured from "Burj Al Arab" Hotel to the "Dubai Zoo."
Collisson assures that Mr. Buffy is here to stay to remain a friend to area children and continue bringing smiles all around. Following the print of his next (smaller) activity book, Mr. Buffy Counts on a Happy Birthday in Dubai, will be a series of theme-based adventure stories expressing universal themes including the importance of thoughtfulness, generosity, and kindness.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Collisson is a contributing writer for Forbes Magazine - Middle East, and Senior Vice President, Publications & Group Director of Consortium Marketing Consultancy - Dubai.Review:
Artistic & informative, great concept. Light-hearted, sensitive look at U.A.E. traditions. Nice gift for any age. -- Ex-pat parent in the U.A.E.
Cute depictions of Mr. Buffy with falcon, Bedouin dancers or henna. Coloring allows assimilation of culture & characteristics of Buffy. -- Mohammed Shafir, driver
Go global Mr. Buffy -- you're cute as Bugs Bunny but nicer! Can't wait to see the series. -- Helena Szabo, Mr. Buffy fan
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