Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What We Do For Love

Little Cuter has about had it.  FlapJilly loves books, loves the turning pages, loves the feel of the cardboard in her hand, loves the bright pictures, love the closeness with her mommy... but Mommy is getting a little bit tired of the insipid verbiage accompanying all that wonderfulness.

I listened.  I commiserated. I nodded sagely, even though she couldn't see.  And then, I began to recite:
On buses ... and in cars... people come to the airport. 
They come to ride in big jet planes.
She laughed.

It's a foundational story in our family, the afternoon the infant Big Cuter had a runny nose, and I gave him a double dose of Dimetapp, and, afraid that if he went to sleep he'd be so drugged that he'd never wake up, I read "Airport.... by Byron Barton" over and over and over and over and over for hours and hours and hours on the sunny couch in the living room.  A bibliophile even as a baby, I was confident that the kid would stay awake as long as I was willing to read, and I was right.

The only problem with the plan was his absolute refusal to hear anything but "Airport... by Byron Barton.... On buses... and in cars... people come to the airport...."

That memory is 31 years old.  It's tinged with equal amounts of love and frustration.  And so it was that I took myself to Barnes and Noble and browsed the 0-3 aisle.  I skipped Eric Carle's Hungry Hungry Caterpillar and its sisters; she has duplicates of many titles already.  I wanted to be original, so I skipped the series Beautiful Annie began, Jennifer Adams' babylit books.  Anna Karenina is a fashion primer, Wuthering Heights takes on weather, and Frankenstein teaches anatomy. 

They are fabulous, with the simple pictures babies love, focusing on big eyes and bright blocks of color and words worthy of an English major, but I was trying to strike out on my own.

At the risk of ruining FlapJilly's surprise, I'll show you what I found.

Big bright and bold was my mantra, and Lots of Spots fit the bill perfectly. The poetry about turtles swimming and flat flounders with eyes topside and toads jumping will give Mommy a chance to act things out and vary her tone of voice and introduce new words and keep her sanity all at the same time.

I saw Adam Rex at the Tucson Festival of Books.  He was charming, self-effacing, and full of mischief. 

This one might be a bit much for a not-quite-two-month-old's attention span, but maybe, just maybe, they'll get to the end when Chu sneezes and wreaks havoc and smiles.

Smiling is a good thing.  I read this book twice before adding it to my stash.  I hope the girls like it as much as I did.

And finally, there's Little Fish, who's alliterative adventure as they splish and splash and swish and softly swim themselves to sleep can be accompanied by the finger puppet fish face coming right through the middle of the book.
Grandpa found the whole thing quite disturbing.
It made me laugh, and so I'm sending it along.
After all, disturbing is better than boring.
Isn't it?


  1. "Mrs. Tiggywinkle was nothing but a hedgehog!" And then we'd roll on the bed laughing hysterically. Night after night after night...

  2. I never got tired of the jingles in Sandra Boynton's books, and the art isn't bad either.


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