Tuesday, May 1, 2012

what we're reading now...May 1

Tuesday, May 1, 2012
So when I dreamed up the idea for posting about our reading, I was imagining a bi-monthly post.  Ha!  Is it any surprise that I'm starting the month of May with my second post, having allowed the rest of April to pass me by? I'm saying my mantra out loud now, BLOG MORE OFTEN.

The Bunny Book.  I mentioned I Am a Bunny in my last post, which is a treasure of a book, recently recommended to me by my wonderful SIL.  This book is in the same vein, written by Patsy Scarry and also illustrated by Richard Scarry.  Similarly adorable bunnies grace its pages, but rather than a quick dash through the seasons, this book is about the aspirations of one baby bunny.  His family has all kinds of ideas for what he might be, from the exotic to the quotidian, but he already knows what he wants to be.  I won't spoil it, but you will keel over from the sweetness of the conclusion.  I promise.  

Caps for Sale. A beloved classic, I plucked it out to read to baby A a few weeks ago mainly because of its enduring value.  It's not an especially exciting story, but I thought he might like the scenes with the monkeys.  As it turns out, it's a great book to read with a young child.  We practice shaking our fingers and fists at the monkeys, and eventually we'll get to stamping our feet. I know A is truly indiscriminate now when it comes to our books, but I shall claim that he does indeed show preference for some books, and this is one of them.  As an adult, I especially love the lovely vintage illustrations.  

Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See.  I'll be the first to admit that I did not appropriately appreciate the beloved Bill Martin/Eric Carle series.  I always found it a bit tedious, and even though the students seemed to adore the repetitive "Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?" questions, I just felt that the books lacked substance.  A bit ridiculous on my part, really, considering that all of these books (there are 4 total: the original Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear, and our personal favorite, Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See) are excellent for small children-patterns to identify for the emerging reader, bright colors (both for aesthetic appeal and for educational value) and a pleasing rhythm.  We checked this particular title out at the library, and I like it so much that I purchased the board book version for A's birthday.  It's based on endangered species, and the pictures are some of the most beautiful of the series.  While the other books conclude with a teacher, zookeeper, and mama bear, respectively, this one finishes with a "dreaming child."  Love it.  

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.  Something strange happened the very first time that A and I made it through an entire reading of this book (it's long, people!).  At the time I purchased it, I simply wanted to add a Seussian title to our collection.  I didn't read them much as a child (or so I thought!) but I felt that A needed to have it.  As I read to my precious little mooshie, however, a vague, completely pleasant familiarity settled over me.  I felt that there was a fond memory that I couldn't quite grasp.  While I still can't exactly remember having read the book as a child, I am now certain that it was a part of my mother's repertoire.  The wild pictures and crazy Nooks, Yings, and Zans opening cans weren't new to me, and somehow I realized that I had looked through the pages of the book many, many times.  I hope that A has a similar epiphany some day, as he reads to his own baby.  

Henny Penny.  I am still on the fairy/folk tale train, still on a Paul Galdone kick.  We have another variation of the same tale, the raucous, busily illustrated Chicken Little, by Steven Kellogg, and I had been reading it quite a bit to baby A before I found Galdone's Henny Penny at the library.  It's a simpler, much more old school version of the story.  In the Kellogg version, the mischievous Foxy Loxy is caught and sent to prison, banned to a diet of vegetable juice for life.  The much darker Henny Penny sees its innocent fowl heading straight into Foxy Loxy's cave never to be seen again.  These words are actually printed on a single black page.  Shudder :)  Tradition is good, I say!  Fairy tales are supposed to contain a bit of the sinister.  Besides the inherent value of being a traditional tale, this version also sticks to a clear pattern which a child might readily identify.  More modern versions are a bit messier, with extra added details.  That's great for older children, but when you're attempting to reinforce basic early reading skills, it's good to have simple, predictable texts.

I can hear a certain adorable baby waking up from his morning nap! Victory!  Post accomplished!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post! I was out of idea for baby M!