Thursday, June 10, 2010
Five More Children's Books
This one is a cute one. Great images. But over all . . . hmmm . . . not sure. I mean, I'm not sure I would want to read this night after night to a child. And children, when they fall in love with a story, want it read to them over and over again. (This serves a psychological purpose, according to Bruno Bettelheim.)
But I wouldn't want to read this book more than once no matter how amusing the illustrations may be. Nor do I feel the relationship between the mouse and the rabbit is something I would want rehearsed in my child's mind.
I'm being nit picky. I know.
This book was/is such a surprise.
I figured, "Blah. Three little pigs. Been there. Read that. NEXT!"
Big mistake! This book is a delight! I would save it for older children, those who have been read to for several years, who are already reading independently. Having some literary context for the events that occur in this book helps a lot to further enhance the overall (and inevitable) appreciation of this unique interpretation of a "tried and true" story.
In many ways, this is a meta-fiction and should be approached as such.
Unfortunately, this book is doomed to be dated. It already is. Ending with the presidency of George Bush Sr, there are bits of trivia that simply are no longer true.
But what a fun wealth of information. Tidbits about many presidents are shared in a manner that invites more exploration.
A clever parent could easily flesh this book out, reading other books along with this one to dig deeper into some of the details. American history can easily be taught through and around this book--from the architecture of the White House to the various men who have served our country as its leader to the historical context into which each was elected. What a treasure! Perhaps the publisher will ask the author and artist to write a revised/updated version.
I love the simple black & white graphics and the highly stylized look of this book. The story is precious, not complicated but not so boring one wouldn't want to share it with their child more than once.
It reminded me of when I was a little girl and would marvel at how the moon would follow me when we were riding on a bus, heading toward home. I thought the moon was playing hide and seek with me, peeping out from between the buildings and then disappearing again only to manifest again a block later.
Plus I like cats. I grew up with cats.
I like the moon. I like cats. And I like milk. I like this book for subjective reasons.
This book is a pleasant surprise although I don't know if children will enjoy it nearly as much as I did.
I am old enough to remember when Phillippe Petit managed to sneak to the top of the World Trade Center Towers and string a rope between them which he then walked across, back and forth, horrifying and amusing the masses who watched below.
I was not one of the masses but in my preadolescence I could recognize an iconoclastic moment and feel delighted. The truth is, I resented the towers because they were taking away from the magnificence of the Empire State Building. Back then the ESB was only lit in a snowy white and it's glow and height were as close as I would ever get to a snow-capped mountain.
Now it seems impossible to believe that such a feat was possible. We have fallen so far from an innocence that I hardly imagined I would ever associate with the decadence of the 70s and yet here we are . . .
This book celebrates a single moment in Manhattan's history. It also serves as an homage to a place that no longer exists. Subjectively speaking yet again, I think this book is a treasure.