Oh my oh

photo

In April

I will go away

to far off Spain

or old Bombay

and dream about

hot soup all day.

Oh my oh once

oh my oh twice

oh my oh

chicken soup

with rice.

-Maurice Sendak

This about sums how I feel so far this month, only two days in. Welcome to April. Welcome to National Poetry Month. And welcome to La La La’s new home – with new offerings – check out the pages above, more frequent posts, and I hope – more feedback from my readers. Be sure to subscribe to this blog, by adding your email (to the right of this post) to ensure that you’ll receive my new posts in your email inbox. As always, I’m looking for guest posts – think about your favorite book to read to your child – share the experience with us here. If you’re looking for a new book for yourself, check out my page “Recommendations for Parents” above. I’ll be updating this page each month. Also look for author interviews and topic specific lists in the coming weeks. As always, stop by to just browse, share a book, or to get an idea for your shelf.

On Cautionary Tales and Circular Plots

 

     Unfortunately I am sucker for packaging, and was instantly drawn to this minuscule collection of Maurice Sendak’s work called Nutshell Library (lesser-known, in my case). There are four perfectly suitable small books in this collection: One Was Johnny – a clever counting book, Chicken Soup With Rice – a book about the seasons, Alligators All Around – an alphabet book, and finally: Pierre: a cautionary tale. They are each short and to the point, with very little text on each small page. Even Pierre, the longest of the four, does not lose my preschooler’s attention. Much like Fables -the ultimate of cautionary tales, Pierre tells the story of a little boy who answers: “I don’t care,” to every question, until he ends up inside a lion’s stomach – learning, by the end to CARE! As I have just begun to attempt to warn my daughter of certain unfortunate outcomes if she behaves a particular way, I enjoyed reading this one with her, and gauging her reaction. Not surprisingly, at three-and-a-half, she is not yet wise enough to truly understand what Sendak is relaying in his tale, but at some point it will sink in, right?
    Along these lines, we were also recently given Herve Tullet’s book: Press Here. Have you seen this one? It is among a collection of interactive books by Tullet, in which children are encouraged to pay attention and follow directions. Tullet, who also illustrates for The New Yorker, has perfected the friendly, authoritative voice that children will certainly trust and follow. I overheard my daughter “reading” this one to her babysitter with a tone that seemed to mimic my own. So in this book, the first page begins with a yellow dot that the child is asked to “press,” before turning the page. One dot turns into two, then three, and so before the dots begin to change colors, size, and placement on the page – all based on little readers following the writer’s cues: they are asked to shake the book, to clap quietly, then loudly, and so on…Again, I can’t stress how much my daughter has responded to this book. Yes, in a way, one could argue this book is absent of a plot. But I would argue, in fact, it is a circular plot, rather than a linear one. After multiplying, changing, mixing up, and resorting the dots, in the end, we are back where we started – with one yellow dot. Later on in life, when these little ones encounter Of Mice and Men or Their Eyes Were Watching God in school, perhaps they’ll remember the first circular plot they encountered in Tullet’s Press Here

What we’re reading now: With my one-year-old, we’re enjoying Ten Tiny Tickles

Why: He loves to be tickled:)

What I’m looking for: Now that we’re in March, what are your favorite books for children by female authors?