Friday, October 8, 2010

A Thousand Words

by Nancy

A picture's worth a thousand words, right? There're even a couple of songs about that idea, including Davey Gates' "if a picture's worth a thousand words, then why can't I paint you? The words would never show the you I've come to know." Pictures have a special, evocative appeal.

Before people had written records (i.e., history), we had pictures. Nobody knows, since we have no recorded explanation, why early humans created cave paintings. Were they religious? Commemorative? Decorative? Some combination thereof? We'll probably never know. But people travel great distances to see them.

Before children learn to write, they learn to color, maybe even to draw. The whole "stay within the lines" thing is kinda overrated sometimes, I think. There's something to be said for creativity.

"The reason to know the rules," Cassondra said to me recently, "is so you understand how and when to break them." Or words to that effect. So if a kid wants to color outside the lines, why not? Maybe she's a visionary.

Anyway, pictures have great appeal for us. Some of us like pictures of actual, recognizable things and people and places. Others prefer abstracts that go for mood rather than image.

Young children particularly like pictures, maybe because tots don't read so well yet. Even high-verbal tots, as the boy was, like picture books. The pictures tell the story. They help engage the imagination. I had a Little Golden Book (remember those?) about a squirrel who had adventures.

I also had a picture book version of Silver Chief that my grandfather read to me over and over and over because I loved it so. It mildewed in the folks' dank basement, alas. I tried to find a copy for the boy but couldn't. It's long out of print. And of course I had the usual complement of Dr. Seuss, Disney adaptations, etc.

I first read The Iliad in picture book format, and I had a picture book adaptation of the King Arthur story. The D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, which I discovered in third grade and checked out of the school library time after time, now sits on our bookshelf. The dh bought it for me one Christmas because I still love those pictures.

So I was somewhat distressed to read in yesterday's New York Times that many parents are pushing their children away from picture books and into chapter books while they're still in pre-K. This has become so common that the market for picture books is falling. Publishers aren't buying them, and bookstores aren't stocking them. Except for perennial favorites like Seuss and Sendak.

If parents want their children to read earlier, that's certainly up to them. I wouldn't presume to dictate that. Some parents didn't let their kids read comic books when I was growing up. I read them, the boy read them, and it doesn't seem to have hurt either of us, but that's a family choice. I'm just not sure why that means there's no place for picture books. I sort of think anything that draws a child to books and reading would be positive.

All this makes me glad the boy came along when he did, when picture books were still abundant and varied. He had a huge vocabulary for his age, if I do say so, but wasn't in any special hurry to learn actual reading. We didn't push him to. I should probably confess here that his dad teaches children's lit, including a course on literature for young children--which means picture books--so we enjoy that format a lot.

The boy had a wonderful little book called Jamberry, by Bruce Degen, and loved it. The dh used to read to the boy's class every week to give the teacher a little time. When he read Jamberry, he took all the berries mentioned in the book to school so the kids could taste them. He did the same thing with the foods mentioned in The Very Hungry Caterpillar (by Eric Carle).

Among the most useful baby shower gifts I received were Good Dog Carl, by Alexandra Day, and a Babar picture book, both in board book format (smaller books on heavy, heavy cardboard pages that withstand the carelessness of small hands).

The boy adored Carl. The beauty of the Carl books was that they had no words--or at least, the early ones didn't--so you made up your own story. At our house, they were known as the "Carl Baby" books because Carl had adventures with the nameless baby that the apparently clueless parents never detected.

The boy had a couple of text-free picture books by Peter Spier, Rain and Christmas, that contained beautiful, detailed pictures but let you make up your own story. Spier also created picture books with text, and we had some of those, too. Of course, we were abundantly supplied with Waldo's adventures.


Some kids probably like to change the story around, and the text-less books would be great for that. Once we had a story for those pictures, though, the boy wanted it the same every time. Exactly the same. Absolutely, exactly the same.

There was a great book called Boom Chicka Boom Boom that was a sneaky way to teach the alphabet (just as Age of Empires on his PC, a few years back, sneakily taught him Norse and Roman mythology). He loved Go, Dog, Go and Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman.

The House That Jack Built was another favorite, and he had a beautiful book about a polar bear's Christmas that inspired us to buy a polar bear ornament for our tree. The Polar Express didn't do much for him, but a book about a couple of naughty grasshoppers was a huge hit, as was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. And the Busytown series.

I saved the books we read most often. He was done with them, but I couldn't bear to see them go. There were too many wonderful memories associated with them, too many images of a small person sitting in my lap, absorbing the words and admiring the pictures. Sharing the moment.

Which picture books do you remember fondly? Which ones do the tots in your life enjoy?

80 comments:

Pissenlit said...

Hilary Knight's Cinderella was my favourite picture book EVER! I still have my old copy and it made it into one of my photography projects in university. Actually, my other favourite picture books that were part of that project were Wonder Woman: Cheetah on the Prowl, It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown and I Am A Bunny by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry(illustrator). There was one other favourite book that involved Strawberry Shortcake and the four seasons but I couldn't find it in time for that project. :)

Nancy said...

Pissenlit, congrats on the bird! I hope you keep him very, very busy. He'll probably be bored today, seeing as how he regards books as useless.

What a great variety of books you've described! I didn't know Wonder Woman had a picture book. The Cheetah was one of her classic opponents.

I'll have to look up that Cinderella. I love the story.

I'd bet the Charlie Brown one was really sweet.

I don't know I Am A Bunny, but Richard Scarry did the Busytown series the boy liked so much.

Jane said...

My favorite till this day is Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are." The story and illustrations were both great.

Nancy said...

Jane, we loved Where the Wild Things Are. In my continuing campaign to de-stodgify the dh's office, I got him a couple of Wild Things stuffed animals a few years back. I didn't see the movie, but he and the boy liked it a lot.

Donna MacMeans said...

The market is eroding for picture books!! Say it isn't so!

I must admit even though I have no grandchildren (yet) and two adult children, I still buy picture books periodically. I just can't pass up the beautiful creative images. I have visions of one day reading them to my grandchildren, but until then I guess I will just enjoy them.

I don't remember any particular picture books from when I was young. They were undoubtably hand-me-downs from my two older brothers. My parents favored trips to the bookmobile to actually purchasing books. i believe I had some Golden Books, and I do remember the Dragons of Blueland, but that's about it.

I remember my daughter absolutely loved The Clown-Arounds. I tried to keep that in tact, but it didn't survive well. We have Where the Wild Things Are, of course, and Goodnight Moon. The classics.
Some of my "adult" picture books are The Sign of the Seahorse (Graeme Base), The Widow's Broom (Chris Van Allsburg) and, of course, The Polar Express.

Kim in Hawaii said...

Even though my children are 10 years or older, I kept our favorite picture books, including those from Sandra Boyton. We also kept our collection of board books from other countries, such as Bob the Builder in Finnish.

Sheree said...

A few years back, one of my coworkers was having a baby and because he had a Rottweiler mix, I gave him an copy of "Carl Goes to Daycare" which is my favorite of the Carl books.

Recently, I bought a picture book of "Jabberwocky" but my bf deemed it too scary for my young nephew. Oh well.

flchen1 said...

Our kids loved Jamberry, too! We had an audio recording of it (yep, on cassette!! At least it wasn't 8-track! ;)) that they listened to over and again!

We also loved a lot of Sandra Boyton board books, especially The Going to Bed Book and Pajama Time and Red Hat, Blue Hat and Not the Hippopotamus... Another favorite, Lucy Cousins' version of Noah's Ark. Our youngest was exceedingly fond of a series of board books by Leslie Patricelli, which started with Yummy, Yucky.

Oh, and they are still very fond of the Frances books by Russell Hoban :)

My daughter LOVED the Richard Scarry books--the old ones, and she still enjoys rereading them (she can do that by herself now :))

What board books is the GR liking, Pissenlit? :)

Minna said...

Since Canada was mentioned in yesterdays post: the first spam today: Immigrate to Canada!

Some of my favorite picture books were drawn and written by Mauri Kunnas. Loved his Dog Hill books!

Who Let the Dogs out??- Baha men Original version
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He82NBjJqf8

MJFredrick said...

When I was a kid, it was Golden Books. In fact, last spring break, we saw The Color Kittens at a restaurant/country store and bought it, just for the memories.

My students love Knuffle Bunny and Skippy Jon Jones. Also, Scaredy Squirrel.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I loved The Little Golden Books, trying to pull a particular title out of my mind this morning is an impossible task though. Richard Scarry's Busy Town and The Bernstein Bears were my daughter's favorites while my son favored Seuss. Why The Foot Book held such an attraction I just don't know but I didn't even have to look at it to read it after I while, I just quoted from memory.

Minna said...

If we are talking about the same Golden Books, my favorite was Colour Kittens.

Deb Marlowe said...

No picture books? That's the saddest thing I ever heard. I kept the special ones too, once my kids grew to a certain age, and I continue to buy them for shower/birthday presents.

We loved Sandra Boynton. I can still recite Moo, Baa, La, La, La from memory.

I have this great memory of my oldest 'reading' a fave book to his baby brother. He was 3. He wasn't reading, but he'd heard the book so many times he knew it by heart, used the same inflections I did, turned the page at the right time. It was such a proud mama moment! :-)

MJFredrick said...

Minna, those little kittens were so cute! And my mom read it in a neat rhythm.

Gillian Layne said...

As a speech language pathologist, this makes me crazy. Picture books stimulate different areas of brain development, and are critical for early language development because they give the child and adult such a wonderful shared referent. Ack! Why do people want kids to "smart up" so quickly?

As a mom of three, I have hundreds of books in this house, and over half are picture books. We still love looking at them; they are art! Sandra Boynton's rhymes wouldn't be nearly as captivating without her droll animals, Mark Teague (How I Spent my Summer Vacation is a must read!), The Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae and David Wojtowycz. Dick and Jane stories. Richard Scary. You know, I still hit the children's section first when I go to a bookstore, just to look at the beautiful new selections.

And I adore those Carl books; they are some of are most loved and dog-eared.

Thanks for waking me up this morning, Nancy. Your post is better than coffee. We must save the picture books! (And I use comic books in therapy. And literature that a child enjoys reading is good literature.)

I'll stop now... ;)

Janga said...

I read that article, Nancy, and my reaction was the same as yours. When I had my students write literacy autobiographies, almost always they wrote with enthusiasm about picture books. Pat the Bunny was a favorite.

I'm glad picture books are still very much a part of the lives of the younger grands and part of the memories of the older ones. The two-year-old's current favorite is one the older grands all loved too:Eileen Christelow's Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. A reading evokes an outburst of contagious giggles. The oldest grand is eleven now, but she still keeps Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes and The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch on her bookshelves. The five-year-old is in a pirate stage, and his favorite this week is How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long.

And we never tire of sharing Robert San Souci's The Talking Eggs and Judith Viorst's Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. "An Alexander day" is a term three generations of my family understand. My favorite, the one I've given most often to children and grandchildren of friends--and sometimes to adults as well--is a lesser known one: Ann Ashford's If I Found a Wistful Unicorn. Some of the grands know that one by heart, as did their fathers.

MJFredrick said...

LOVE Robert Munsch, though I cannot read I'LL LOVE YOU FOREVER aloud. I sob.

And Alexander! Forgot all about him. And The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Viorst--about the loss of a pet. Sad but so good.

Laurie said...

Jan Brett has beautiful picture books!! The Mitten is a favorite!

Lois Ehlert-Planting a Rainbow,Red Leaf Yellow Leaf, Feathers For Lunch Love all of her books She did the pictures for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

Eric Carle love all of his books Brown Bear brown Bear What Do You See? The Grouchy Ladybug,Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear?, The Tiny Seed,1,2,3,To the Zoo , The Very Busy Spiderand The Mixed Up Chameleon

Marcus Phister -The Rainbow Fish, Beautiful! Our book even had a colorful fish with it!

Winnie the Pooh series A A Milne

Peter Rabbit series Beatrix Potter

Little Beaver and His Echo Mary MacDonald

The Little Engine That Could- Watty Piper

Kirsten said...

Interesting Nancy, that you should mention this article. I also found it sad, but there was a wealth of comments that followed suggesting perhaps the reporter had exaggerated to make her point. The mother that was reported to push her children away from picture books said she was terribly misquoted. And I saw some librarians saying their circulation numbers for picture books were way up -- surely in this economy and $18 price tag has something to do with sales.

I'd like to believe it isn't true, because picture books mean so much to me and my kids. We were also big Jamberry readers -- over and over to my first born. There's an artist and writer named Elisa Kleven that I would suggest to anyone who loves art and children's literature. My kids particularly loved The Puddle Pail, and the Paper Princess. Wonderful books and incredibly beautiful collage illustrations.

http://www.elisakleven.com/books.html#written

gamistress66 said...

I really remember 3 books -- one was a story about a boy going to the doctor for routine check up. What was neat about the book was at the very bottom of each page was another story about a little boy bunny going to the doctor's. While the boy's words & pictures took up most of the page, the bunny's story had it's own picture per page as well and slightly adapted the boy's story to that of a bunny (the bunny got a carrot from the doctor for being a good patient instead of lollipop). I always thought it was interesting "2-in-1" book.

the 2nd was a personalized book my folks bought me for xmas about 2nd grade. "My Favorite Giraffe" had my name spelled backword and the story included my brother, friends & neighbors. I thought it was one of the coolest presents ever. :) Still do :)

The third was a small book for toddlers that I remember more from my neices than my childhood although the book had been mine. It was about a turtle in a box. went something like: "i have a turtle .... in a box ..... under my bed .... in my room... etc and back again. The girls new it by heart and you were not allowed to miss a single page when you read it to them or they'd tell you about it ;)

One nice thing about saving those favorite books from you son's childhood. You may get the chance to enjoy them again with his kids (assuming they don't mildew in the basement) :)

Nancy said...

Donna, we also loved Goodnight, Moon. That one's still around, I'm happy to say.

I like looking at Dragonology, just because it is so beautiful. There are other books in that series, but he liked that one best.

Most of my picture books were Little Golden books. The squirrel book and Silver Chief lived at my grandparents' house, and that's where I enjoyed them.

Nancy said...

Kim, I totally get keeping those books! You had Bob the Builder in Finnish? How cool.

The boy didn't have Bob, but he went through a phase of intense interest in construction. He loved a series of videos featuring a guy named Dave who went around trying different jobs.

I wish I could remember what the series was called. The boy's favorite was the construction one, which he referred to as "Construction Dave."

Nancy said...

Sheree, the child may grow into Jabberwocky. The dh loves Lewis Carroll. Alice never did much for me, but he teaches it in his Clsasics of British Children's Lit class.

The boy balked, when he was in grade school, at A Wrinkle in Time--too scary, he said. A couple of years later, though, he asked if we could finish it.

Nancy said...

Fedora, I didn't know Jamberry came in audio book format, but it rhymes so nicely that I can see how it would appeal.

The boy had a couple of Richard Scarry books, and we had a Busytown program for the computer. He loved to go into the bakery and mix the wrong things together or into the factory and try to put the tractor together wrong.

Nancy said...

Minna, I bet the boy would've loved Dog Hill. Go Dog Go was one of his favorites. And, of course, Carl.

jo robertson said...

What a great topic, Nancy. Thanks for sharing such beautiful memories of children's books.

My grandkids have all enjoyed Ethel and Len Kessler's "Is There an Elephant in Your Kitchen?" and "Is There a Penguin at Your Party?"

They love the "Oh, no!" part.

Nancy said...

MJ, isn't it funny how you can see the cover of a book like that and have it take you back instantly? I would've bought the book, too.

Inspired by writing this blog, I've tracked down, I think, a copy of Silver Chief. The boy is way too old for it, but having it will be a connection to my grandfather and the time we spent together.

Nancy said...

Dianna, The Foot Book? Sounds intriguing.

Everybody I knew was familiar with those Golden Books. I think we had Goldilocks and the Three Bears in that format. I had Sleeping Beauty, a Disney adaptation.

Nancy said...

Deb, how sweet to hear your son reading to his baby brother. I was amazed by the way the boy remembered stories we read over and over. Their little minds are just so absorbent.

Nancy said...

Gillian, glad you liked the post. I didn't know you were in speech pathology. That must be a very interesting job.

Some of our relatives opined that we should not let the boy read "that garbage," meaning comic books, the Hardy Boys, and Disney adaptations. But I shared your belief that creating positive feelings about books and reading would create a reader.

Those books also had a very clear-cut moral code.

Apparently someone's doing one of those pastiche books (like P&P and Zombies) with Dick and Jane. The mind boggles.

Nancy said...

Janga, that's interesting about your students. We had Pat the Bunny. And Alexander. The boy loved The Paper Bag Princess.

his favorite this week, you said. I'd forgotten how quickly their tastes change, but the boy was like that, too. Except Carl. Carl hung on through thick and thin--unti the books advanced and he learned the baby was a girl!

Nancy said...

MJ, we got I'll Love You Forever as a baby gift. I can't read it aloud either.

Nancy said...

Laurie, I'd forgotten about The Little Engine that Could. My copy of that was also ruined in the basement, but we found one that had identical illustrations, which gave me warm fuzzy feelings.

Winnie the Pooh and Peter Rabbit were staples for us. The dh loves, and teaches, both of those series.

The boy also loved the Pooh movies.

Nancy said...

Kirsten, I hope it's the economy. If children want the chapter books because they want them (as opposed to feeling it's what their parents expect them to want), that's different.

I've been to parent meetings at school--I imagine many of us have--where parents are asking in kindergarten when the school will do gifted and talented assessments. I do think there are parents out there pushing, pushing, pushing. I'd like to think they aren't the majority.

As I said in the post, if parents want their kids to read earlier, I have no problem with that. I just don't think kids need to be denied picture books (many of which have words on a level appropriate for young children that could be used in reading lessons) in the process.

You know, Jamberry doesn't get much attention, but a lot of people seem to know it. And it has been in print for quite a long time, now, as these things go.

Nancy said...

Gamistress, those books sound great. I confess, I have a faint hope of sharing the boy's books with his children one day. We don't have a basement, just crawl space, so they won't fall prey to mildew, at least.

Nancy said...

Jo, glad you liked the post. I'm not familiar with either of those books, but I bet we would've liked the penguin one. We have a special fondness for penguins.

When the boy was little, we spent close to an hour watching the penguins at the Central Park Zoo. We even had a Christmas ornament that, unfortunately, fell and shattered last year. I plan to replace it the next time we visit NYC.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Pissenlit! You got the Chook! Yippee! He gets to eat KAM!

Snork. (Scary thing is, he'd probably like it!)

I think I had Cheetah on the Prowl, have to go look that up.

Great post, Nancy!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Jane, I love Sendak too.

My favs FOR my kids have been the Carl books, If you Give a Moose A Muffin (companion book to the Mouse/Cookie one, but better, somehow), and a series of Halloween books that they never seem to tire of. Nor do I.

Is There Room on the Broom? is a current fav.

I never cared as much for the Eric Carle books, but my boys liked them. And my youngest loves the Waldo books, so far.

Nancy, I think schools are pushing the chapter books harder and harder these days as well. I was quite surprised when they send my oldest home with chapter books in first grade. He wasn't ready for them at all. Sigh.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Kim in Hawaii said: including those from Sandra Boyton.

Oh, we LOVE the Boynton books! But Not THe Hippopatomus... The Going to Bed Book; Moo, Baa, La, La, La;

oh so many!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Dianna said: Why The Foot Book held such an attraction I just don't know but I didn't even have to look at it to read it after I while, I just quoted from memory.

Must be a boy thing, Dianna, since I too can quote "..left foot, left foot, left foot, right; feet in the morning and feet at night..."
without ever looking at the pages.

Grins.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Janga said: Ann Ashford's If I Found a Wistful Unicorn. Some of the grands know that one by heart, as did their fathers.

Oooh, I've not seen this one, Janga, I'll have to go seek it out if it kept your boys enthralled. We got a copy of The Paper Bag Princess at a party where you picked a wrapped prize. My eldest loves books, so he got that one and was disappointed that it was about a girl. We read it anyway and it came to be one of his favs.

Then we got John, Paul, George and Ben (and Sometimes Tom) by Lane Smith. That one is boy-funny and a good intro to Revolutionary History.

Then there's Bear Stays Up for Christmas, and Snowmen at Night. Both of those are must reads 'round here even in the heat of summer.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy, we have these too, in VHS...they're ready to leave the house if anyone wants them...hint, hint...

Nancy said: He loved a series of videos featuring a guy named Dave who went around trying different jobs.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Pissenlit, looks like the rooster might be raiding your bookcase for picture books today. He doesn't do too well with text!

Nancy, what a gorgeous post! It really brought back memories. I couldn't read until I went to school and I'm actually really grateful now that I had five years when my world wasn't completely dominated by the verbal. Although my parents read to me a lot so perhaps that's not completely accurate. I had some beautiful Oxford University Press fairy tale books. Big with beautiful paintings by Italian designers (I recently dragged them out for another drool). All with full color pictures - the one of Cinderella going to the ball in a vaguely 17th century white gown and a crescent moon in diamonds in her hair was breathtaking. Yeah, you can see I was born to write historical romance, can't you?

jo robertson said...

Oh, Jane, I love Where the Wild Things Are! The vivid colors and pictures are so cool.

Gillian said, "Ack! Why do people want kids to "smart up" so quickly?"

This is so true. It's like life is a race to get to the end instead of a journey to be enjoyed.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, glad you liked the post.

People at your house love Halloween books? Really? Never woulda guessed. *g*

The Lane Smith book sounds like lots of fun. I see your guys like The Paper Bag Princess, too. Interesting, how boys get into that before they hit that certain age.

Nancy said...

Anna, that Cinderella book sounds gorgeous.

The boy had a version of The Twelve Dancing Princesses that twas beautifully illustrated. I bought it because I loved the pictures. He liked the trickiness of the hero.

Nancy said...

Jo, I think the tendency to focus on the destination, the goal, rather than the journey is very common. I find myself doing it a lot.

Living in the now requires some training in this fast-paced, high-tech world. When you're connected all the time, you're never really alone. At least it feels that way to me sometimes.

MJFredrick said...

I have a Rapunzel book that's gorgeous, but for the life of me I can't think of the illustrator. I just remembered another book my kids love--Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude. It's a boy and girl telling a story for class, and they keep arguing over the details. Fun book.

Pissenlit said...

Well, perhaps the GR will give Wonder Woman: Cheetah on the Prowl and It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown a chance. Both of them came with read-a-long cassettes. :D

I think I liked the Wonder Woman book just 'cause it was Wonder Woman but the Charlie Brown book was totally the cutest thing ever! The part of the story where he kisses the the little red-haired girl was adorable and shows him floating around in the clouds. Hee hee!

Nancy, do check out Hilary Knight's Cinderella! The artwork is absolutely magical! Amazon's got a few of the illustrations on their site.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/0375814221/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_0?ie=UTF8&index=0
I must've spent hours just following every line of every drawing.

As for I Am A Bunny, Scarry illustrated it with the most precious paintings as opposed to his Busytown-type drawings. I did love Busytown, though. Lowly Worm was my favourite character with his little sneaker and Tyrolean hat! What a cutie!

Nancy said...

MJ, I loved the Rapunzel story. I hear there's a version that turns it on its head, with the prince in need of rescue, but I can't think where I heard it.

The motorcycle book sounds fun!

Nancy said...

Pissenlit, thanks for the link. Those really are beautiful illustrations. I haven't seen the Richard Scarry I Am a Bunny. I'll have to see if the dh knows it.

catslady said...

I didn't have a lot of books when I was young (thank goodness for the library) so I made a point on going overboard with my kids lol. I kept them all so I have a couple of bins stored with children's books for when those grandkids come along. I also took them to the library where we would get out 30 books every week (the most allowed lol). My youngest would have suffered if there weren't lots of picture books - she started out slower than her sister but caught up soon enough. Every child has their own pace and books should reflect that!

jo robertson said...

Catslady, we didn't have any books at all when I was young, always had to go to the library, which was a real treat for us.

When my children were little, we had more of the small children's books, but now my kids' children have tons. I think I'm making up for an underprivileged childhood. LOL.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy said: People at your house love Halloween books? Really? Never woulda guessed. *g*

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha! I have coerced them to MY side of things, insuring that they love pumpkin pie, black pointy hats and delicious halloween-y books. :>

No surprise there.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Catslady said: I didn't have a lot of books when I was young (thank goodness for the library)

Catslady and Jo, we didn't have a ton of kids books either, but this was because my father was the director of libraries. It was important to him that we use the library rather than the bookstore. Grins.

I've now gone back and ordered or found many of those old books I read over and over and over and over. Still a few missing, but not many...

Minna said...

Another favorite of mine was Riverboat Ahoy by Lucy Kincaid.

In honor of John Lennon's birthday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaLfDnShEn0

Nancy said...

Catslady, my dad and I haunted the town library when I was growing up. He made a trip every week. In between, I loved to ride my bike there, fill the basket with books, and ride home, then repeat the process a few days later.

I had a handful of picture books and some chapter books, mostly Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins. I wanted Hardy Boys, but my mom did not consider those appropriate for girls.

I kept them all, but the Bobbseys and Nancy held no appeal for the boy. We went overboard with him on books, too. I'm keeping the ones we especially liked, as I said.

I found a copy of the Silver Chief picture book on the internet and ordered it. I'm looking forward to getting it and remembering my grandfather.

Nancy said...

Jo, speaking of underprivileged childhoods, we always go to the bookstore angel tree at Christmas. It's great for kids to have toys, but we choose to give books.

I agree with Catslady, kids should read at their pace.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, we had some Halloween picturebooks. When the boy got older, he liked Eva Ibbotson (-sen?. Have you tried your guys on her books?

Nancy said...

Minna, the riverboat book sounds interesting.

I'd forgotten this was Lennon's birthday. His 70th?

Suddenly I feel very old.

Nancy said...

Heading out for a bit with the boy. Back later.

Suzanne Ferrell said...

LOVE your post, Nancy! As I have three small grandbabies who LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to look at books and read books these days, we're rebuilding our personal library. My grandson who is monosylabic to the point we call him the little caveman can spend half his day dragging books from the book crate to my hubby and I, toss it in our lap, say, "book, up" and get to look and read his favorites. Mostly having flaps and pictures, but Dr. Seuss or golden books get read, too. His sister loves Green Eggs and Ham and Are You My Mother.

But I can't wait until they're old enough for one of my favorite picture books. Where's Waldo.

When their mother and her brother were 5-8,they could spend literally hours searching those pictures for not only Waldo, but all the other little things hidden in the pictures. God's gift to mothers!!

My oldest will buy books for her two daughters based on the artwork. There's a great fairy book with some of the most lovely pictures. Talk about inspiring young artists.

And as for coloring outside the lines...we have coloring time at my house when I babysit the kids. They get printable coloring sheets and a blank paper. I like to see not only their hand-eye coordination, but their imagination. (Maybe that's why both my girls are artists?)

Caren Crane said...

Pissenlit, I hope the GR didn't make a huge mess at your place. He is, alas, hopelessly messy!

Nancy, I'm distressed to hear publishers are moving away from picture books. I think young children need more outlets to use their creativity than they are given these days. The poor little things have everything "programmed" for them. We made efforts to give our girls (who are a junior and senior in high school now) toys, books and activities that sparked their creativity.

It seems a real shame that publishing is abandoning a natural outlet for the boundless imagination of the young. I fondly recall gorgeous picture books from my childhood, including some outsized picture books that were gifts from my great-grandmother, Momma Crane, to my older sisters and I. Huge counting books and ABC books with rich, detailed pictures. Studying the pictures was always part of being read to and I spent hours on my own just studying the pictures long before I could read.

I'm sure things will swing back to picture books before they become extinct!

Caren Crane said...

Anyone who has young children in their lives should have a copy of Graeme Base's "Animalia". It is basically an ABC book, but it is fun enough for readers, too. The illustrations are magnificent and contain pictures of words beginning with whatever the letter is. The A page says, "An Armoured Armadillo Avoiding An Angry Alligator". It has lots of other A things in the picture and half the fun is finding ALL the words contained in the picture.

Now THAT book is great for reading skills and vocabulary. It was given to my son (now 24) on his birthday in 1989, when he was turning 3. My sister Holli gave it to him and it was the best gift ever!

Pissenlit said...

Oh, I remember Animalia! We did that book in grade school and then each student was given a letter and we had to produce our own page. I had 'I'. :)

Louisa Cornell said...

Congrats on nabbing the GR, Pissenlit! Read him a story and he'll go right to sleep. How about Henny Penny? Do you have that one?

My Mom taught all three of us to read from the Dr. Seuss books. The pictures went with the words and by the time each of us was four we could read them on our own. She also taught my nephew and niece (now 19 and 17) to read from those very same books. They reside on a bookshelf in her den in a place of honor and it is funny to see which of my family members takes them down when they visit Mom just to leaf through them and smile.

We also have this very big, very old picture book with Bible stories in it. I think it belonged to my Mom and her siblings when she was a girl. The illustrations are these incredible oil painting type pictures. When I think of what the book must have cost my grandmother - a poor Creek woman with nine children working a sharecropping farm with a husband who was seldom around I realize how deep a love of reading and books runs in my family.

I too always browse the children's section in book stores and seldom leave without one picture book. They are just so beautiful - little works of art. I have a number of the Carl books, of course. And Good Night, Moon.

And I still have quite a few of my Little Golden Books.

When our local book store closed I stocked up on beautiful picture books. I guess I will hang on to them for my great nieces and great nephews when they come along.

Nancy said...

Suz, glad you liked it! The boy was always better at spotting Waldo than I was. I think young eyes are just generally more observant sometimes.

I chuckled over "book, up." When the boy was a toddler, with those board books with the flaps, he would pick up my thumb, jam the book between my thumb and forefinger, and clamp the thumb down. Then he would look expectant.

He had a school play tonight. He was a stretcher bearer.

Nancy said...

Caren, I think Inara makes a great point about the economy and the cost of picture books probably playing a role. Several of the boy's (Rain and Christmas and quite a few others) were paperback. That's risky with really young children but, I would assume, cheaper.

We did not have Animalia, alas. Missed it totally. But I've seen it, and it's really beautiful.

Nancy said...

Pissenlit, the book must've made an impression if you remember what letter you had.

Nancy said...

Louisa, my grandparents had Henny Penny and read it to us.

That's fascinating about your grandmother having books in such difficult circumstances.

I'm happy for you that your Golden Books survived. They must not have been stored in a basement.

Pat Cochran said...

After growing up with parents who
were avid readers, especially a
mother who started our library
visits when we were tiny tots, IT
was inevitable. We became our
parents and began reading to our children when they were quite young. Picture books, especially the Dr. Seuss books, were great favorites. Our children read to their youngsters and the older siblings read to the little ones.
It's a magic circle! A few years
back, a nephew invited his mother
and I to read to groups of kids
in his store. With "Cat in a Hat"
and my striped hat in hand, I was there bright and early for my
session.Loved it enough to repeat
the readings several times!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy said: When the boy got older, he liked Eva Ibbotson (-sen?. Have you tried your guys on her books?

Ohhhh, yes. In fact you'll need to know that Anna Campbell and I are HUGE Eva fans b/c of a book she wrote called A Countess Below Stairs. Its now shelved in YA, but I bought it as an adult book. Her children's books are fabulous too.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Animalia is wonderful. And if you're a bunch of "halloween-ers" like us, The ABCs of Halloween is awesome too.

"A is for Attics, spooky dusty and dark..."

grins.

Pissenlit said...

Oooh, that reminds me of Edward Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies. :)

Nancy said...

Pat, your nephew sells books? How neat! You make a great point about reading being something that gets passed on.

The boy doesn't read as much as we did, but he has more options for entertainment. During school, he has a heavy reading load, but he does read for fun in the summer.

Our policy has always been that we pay for books. Anime, music, movies anything like that, comes out of his money. But books are on us. It'll be interesting to see what his reading habits are when he gets done with his school years.

Nancy said...

Jeanne, I've never seen The Countess Below Stairs. It sounds cool.

Nancy said...

Pisssenlit, Edward Gorey? Tell, tell!

Pissenlit said...

Omigosh! Edward Gorey does the cutest little macabre books. My favourite is The Gashlycrumb Tinies that tell of the untimely deaths of 26 little children.........uh...okay, put like that, it actually sounds creepy and not cute...but, it's illustrated and it's all

A is for Amy who fell down the stairs
B is for Basil assaulted by bears
C is for Clara who wasted away
D is for Desmond thrown out of a sleigh

....and so on and so forth :)

two of the pages
http://www.lunaea.com/words/gorey/tinies1.html

Nancy said...

Pissenlit, I love that! Thanks.

SiNn said...

well of course Dr.Seuss was aweosem as a kid so was the Bernstien bears


my lilest adorable neice lovesto be read to all the time no matter what it is her favorite book would have to be the Bionic Bunny lord she love sthatbook so much in fact we had to buy a couple extra copies because she wore them out but yano iw ont complain simply because her love of reading this early gives me hope she will love it for life