Tag Archives: Books 101

Top Ten Best Authors for Media Saturated Kids

Maybe you want to give a child a book for a gift but you are worried that the book will get tossed into a pile of irrelevancy in favor of Junior’s tablet or the new video game his much cooler aunt bought him.  Maybe your own child has been fed too many cartoons on the tube.  It’s okay; I won’t tell. (I’m not proud of how much “e-living” happens in my own home, after all.) But now, our media saturated children are rather uninterested in the written word— especially when it competes with flashy animations. After all, you can give a kid books, but you can’t make them like ’em… much less even read them.  But I have come to give you hope! And to have it in abundance!

Before we can expect a media glutton to love the beauty of simple things like Make Way for Ducklings or Stone Soup, we have to ease them into the transition of still life and still ink on still paper.  In response to this need for a segue, publishers have been printing a bloated genre of books that supposedly children will love but typically parents hate. These generally include sharp, digital illustrations, flatulence, underpants, aliens and/or mucous emissions. I suppose the idea is that the shock value of these things will get kids reading. Toilet humor—especially to boys— is highly appealing.  So the battered down, desperate parent feels it’s their only hope to get Junior interested in books.  It’s not the only hope… but I’m not going to lie and say that you can just give a child a classic book and expect them to swoon over it.  This is very much like very picky eaters who’ve been given too much junk food and refuse all their vegetables. Once the intellectual appetites have been soiled (in this case by too much electronic stimulation) it is very difficult to reorder it to enjoying the wholesome books. Difficult… but not impossible. The first thing to do is eliminate or drastically limit media of course.  Otherwise, no matter how good your intentions, books will always lose to the drug inducing power of TV (video games are even more destructive to cultivating readers). Then, find some good books to introduce.

Thankfully, there are a number of excellent authors out there who are especially well suited to “reordering appetites.”  Think of them as a good probiotic or something… replenishing the gut with good bacteria (all right enough of the food analogies). Like all my Top Ten lists, this isn’t an exclusive compilation; there are certainly other books and authors that would make for great transitions. The things to look for are humor, weird or unexpected plots, interesting typeset, detailed pictures, and/or novel or irresistible concepts.  Believe it or not, these things can be found without resorting to pooping, iPad wielding aliens in underwear.

After the child has been fed a good diet of these transitional books, they can slowly move onto realizing that there are some true delights to be found in picture books and they’ll want to explore more—even ones with less catchy covers.

So here is my list of the authors to look out for once you decide to move away from media and into the glory of the printed word.

Chris Van Dusen. Van Dusen has the most excellent illustrations to captivate an unsuspecting media glutton. His style LOOKS animated and he’s got a superb natural rhyming that fits all his books so well. If I Built a House would make for a perfect “starting over” book to try and hook kids into the adventures in reading.  And  Randy Riley’s Really Big Hit also has really big appeal. Be sure to also read all the Mr. Magee stories too!

David Weisner.  Weisner is the wordless book master and as we all should know by now, wordless books are not just for kids. Tuesday is his classic tale of bizarre flying frogs but Sector 7 and all his other titles certainly shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle either.  These books are great ones for bored children to just “discover” lying about on an end table somewhere.


Lynley Dodd.  Dodd isn’t so well known in the states for some reason but her Hairy Maclary is quite well known in her New Zealand homeland and elsewhere.  ALL of her books are great.  She has an extraordinary talent for rhyming and for made-up words that just roll off you tongue with delight.  These books are best read aloud and with enthusiasm to capture the full cadence.

Oliver Jeffers. A favorite among boys especially.  Don’t be fooled by Jeffers youthful, simple illustrations—he has an uncanny perception of what is funny and how children think.  I’ve discussed before about my favorite title of his This Moose Belongs to Me, but my children adore Stuck and also The Day the Crayons Quit which he illustrated.

Richard Scarry.  Everyone knows Richard Scarry by now right?!  His characters should be well known in any childhood.  But there is a golden window of opportunity for introducing Scarry to the recovering couch potatoes—and it’s probably only up to age 7 by my estimates because he is aimed toward the younger set. What makes books like What Do People Do All Day so interesting is their very busy-ness. Scarry is fantastic at creating little stories within the story with funny side pictures or car crashes etc.

Chris Van Allsburg. Where Scarry appeals to younger kids, Van Allsburg specializes in the slightly older demographic. And you have to be careful at first because his tales of mystery won’t automatically attract the flies.  You have to start with something peculiar and ever so slightly morbid like The Z Was Zapped— where the demise of alphabet letters is chronicled in a fascinating way. Then go to Two Bad Ants before moving into his more sophisticated works.

Jerry Pallotta. Pallotta gets included in this list for his very high score on the “strewing” factor. He manages to come up with excellent, informative compilations that a kid can’t help wanting to crack open. Even when a child has passed the ideal age for alphabet books, he can’t help but wonder what’s in something like The Icky Bug Alphabet Book, The Yucky Reptile Alphabet Book, The Skull Alphabet Book or his intriguing Who Would Win Series like Polar Bear Vs. Grizzly Bear.  Boys love Pallotta.

Mo Willems. I’ll be honest… I didn’t get the hype about Mo at first. I thought his debut title Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! was silly and overly simplistic when I first saw it.  But the masses have overwhelmingly defied this blogger’s opinion and Mo has since written a bunch of other books that I really like much better.  When it comes to feeding media-hungry kids though, it doesn’t really matter if MY tastes are satisfied (so long as they aren’t offended), kids know what they like and Willems knows what to do. He is a great segue author. The typeset is excellent, short and appealing. And his characters, while simply drawn are engaging to the max. Begin with We Are in a Book! which, if read in an engaging manner, is rather hilarious even to the adult. Other titles are just funny enough to draw in even the most reluctant souls: Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct.

William Steig. Steig is one of those quirky authors that you’ll find on a lot of unrelated lists: best authors for boys, funniest authors, classic authors not to miss, and on. If you asked me my favorite, I’d say it was Doctor De Soto, but if you’re looking to ease kids into books, a more obvious choice is something like Pete’s a Pizza or the puzzling C D C ?

Sesyle Joslin. You want shock value mixed with vintage? Pick Joslin. Buried in the fantastically brilliant book on teaching manners from the late fifties, Joslin comes up with things to offend today’s PC parents. In What Do You Say, Dear?, parents get horrified that the character says “Would you like me to shoot a hole in your head?” I don’t really see the big deal.  The kids politely declines: “No, thank you.” This book and its companion What Do You Do, Dear? are a riot of unpredictability. Highly recommended.

 
 
We need desperately, I feel, a noncommercial alternative to what commercialism is trying to do to us. I’m not for censorship, but I’m certainly for self-censorship when it comes to producing or purveying products to America’s children. I think that for people who make anything for children, their first thought should be: Would I want my child to see, hear or touch this? And if the answer is no, just don’t make it.
-Mr. Rogers
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A-Z Questionnaire for Book Lovers

… oh it was irresistible!  I rarely to never do linky themes or blog trends running around online, but I saw this and I just. couldn’t. resist.  Because I love talking about books just slightly less than I love reading books, I changed up the questions enough to apply specifically to picture books.  I invite you to join in if you like with your own answers…

Author You’ve Read the Most Books From: Bill Peet just because he is so prolific.

Board Book Baby Loves Best?  It’s a tie between  Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks from A to Z and Peek-A Who?

Christmas Wouldn’t Be the Same Without: Oh so many!  But ultimately, if I only had one, it would have to be The Donkey’s Dream.

Doesn’t Impress You Like it does everyone else:  Almost all of the self-esteem picture books  (the ones that  weigh down the shelves at major retailers and get gifted by well-meaning relatives).  I have an especially annoyed opinion of Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.  I know… I’m so unAmerican for saying that.

Earliest Picture Book Memory? The first book I can remember my mama ever reading to me was Millions of Cats.  She was an incredibly busy, industrious woman slogging through a ton of housework and nine kids underfoot… but somehow she managed to clear the cobwebs of her exhaustion enough to read us kids stories on the couch and we loved those rare moments when she sat down

Funniest Book You Can Think Of? Easily, it’s This Moose Belongs to Me where Jeffer’s witty, perfect humor shines through.  I wrote about it here.

Golden Book Favorite: The Saggy Baggy Elephant.  It’s not particularly superior to all the others.  And I do love Eloise Wilkins’ books, but this title wins for me out of pure nostalgic appreciation…

Hidden Gem Book: The Summerfolk because I want to be Doris Burn when I grow up.

Illustrations You Would Actually Frame to Display on Your Wall:  oh I don’t know… woodcuts? (Mary Azarian?), A mosaic artist?  I guess probably just A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog; they’d be just simple and lovely in small frames in a bathroom…

Just Finished Reading:  The Story About Ping… again (love).

Kids Love This But You Don’t: Garfield comic books.

Last Purchased Book: I had to check.  It was The Glorious ABC.

Most Worn Out Title in your Home: This varies frequently as the worn out ones eventually become unusable and get tossed into my “to-be-upcycled” graveyard.  The current book holding onto its last breath of life is The Princess in the Forest. I will be sad to attend that funeral and will certainly hope to buy it again.

Not Just for Kids:  If You’re Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow. It was a gift to me on my 15th birthday and I love it now even more than I did then.

Out-of-Print Book(s) You Severely Wish Were Not: Everything by Joan Gale Thomas please!

Poetry Perfection: Lynley Dodd is my very favorite wordsmith wizard… so much fun!

Quirky Book You Love: Just one?! King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub then. We all revisit this one often.

Reader Book Favorites: All things Syd Hoff, Arnold Lobel and P.D. Eastman

Series You Wish You Owned All Of: Many, many different series or authors.  Currently, I wish I owned all of (or any of!) the Henry the Explorer books

Thrift Store Bargain that Thrilled You: Finding almost all of the David Macauley building books in hardback, discarded from a library for 50 cents each.

Unexpected Delight Pulled Randomly From the Library Shelf: Magpie Magic: A Tale of Colorful Mischief.

Virtue Lesson Not to Miss: The Empty Pot, hands down my favorite non-preachy book on honesty.

Wordless Book that Won Your Heart: A Small Miracle. It’s my boys’ favorite Christmas tale and deserves to be carefully poured over while sipping hot chocolate.

X is Tricky! One Alphabet Book that Does it Right: … because I judge ABC books by their treatment of the letter X.  Worst book I ever saw flat out skipped the letter… sheesh. The Handmade Alphabet wins for the most seamless letter X.

You Wish Your Kids Loved This as Much as You Do: The Monk Who Grew Prayer.  It’s tolerated around here, but never requested and immediately forgotten for the next book in the reading pile.  *sniff*

Zzz… Bedtime Story You Would Reach For First: Time for Bed, in hardback, with full-size pictures please.  It’s just rhythmic enough.  And it earns this distinction mostly because it’s the very first picture book I ever bought for my son.

* * *

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Do Bookshelves Make Bookworms?

In my experience, yes.  Books are always there, easily accessible and if the parent is savvy in selecting delicious titles and strewing them about… how can a child NOT become a reader?  Investing in (good) books then, pays a high return on dividends.   Here is a(nother) study proving this point.

“…growing up in a home where there are books on show is far more important than having educated parents. Growing up in a home with a 500-book library propels a child 3.2 years further in education, on average.”

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How to Make Your Children Hate Reading

I had an experience the other day that broke my heart and made me angry and inspired me to write this post.  I’m going to call this a direct companion to my post aimed at getting children to love reading:Overcoming Reading Resistance.  This is the necessary corollary: How to make children HATE reading.

I was at the thrift store doing my usual scan of the shelves when a mother and daughter came into the aisle to look for books too.  I smiled at the girl (who was, by my estimation, 7-8 years old) excited for her as I heard the mother ask her to find some books she’d like to read.  She immediately started pulling out some picture books with excitement when her mother immediately grabbed them from her and shoved then back on the shelf, “Those are for little kids; you’ve already learned that stuff.  You need to pick out some chapter books you like.”  The girl obediently abandoned the picture book section and dejectedly went looking for a chapter book… which brings me to point number one on how to make your kid hate reading:

1- Push them to start reading. Then push them through the early stages of reading. Then keep pushing and never let them linger.  Picture books are emphatically NOT just for the 8 and under set! I have one child who reads Tolkien one minute but is happy to revisit Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (recommended for “children 4-8”) the next. Another son of mine reads at a 7th grade level and will still pull out Go, Dog. Go! just for kicks sometime. I have one friend who told me (when her daughter was 10) that she loved reading this blog but that she felt like they were “done” with the picture book stage. (Okay, in my defense, I post about the occasional chapter book! And another thing, since when is someone like Shaun Tan, just for kids?! Finally, if a person of ANY age does not enjoy reading A Hole Is to Dig… they simply have no humanity in them. And I’m not interested in persons with shriveled up raisins for hearts reading this blog anyway.) There is a familiarity and warmth in picture books that helps to build confidence for struggling readers. Reading isn’t about who can do it the fastest or stressing about your 3 year old not knowing all his letters yet. It’s the building of a relationship with the written word. And I don’t care what your teacher says, that is something that can’t and certainly shouldn’t be rushed.  Acting like reading is simply a skill that has to be mastered is a surefire way to kill any kind of lasting relationship with books.

2- Never buy books. “A house without books is like a body without a soul…” Kids see what we spend money on. We spend money on what is important to us. Period. What are the most important things in your home? Demonstrate that books aren’t nearly as important as your Netflix membership, new iPhone, or stylish leather boots by simply not buying them.  And the hierarchy of value will be very evident when you gift your young children with lots of light-up, bleeping toys but not any books.

3- Never read books.  Children mimic their parents. If I spend all day glued to my iPad, they get itchy wanting electronic time too. If they see that I spend my leisure time reading a book, they get the hint that there is something valuable there. Parents whose children hate reading might consider taking a look at their own habits.  Here’s an article with pretty good insight about that. If you don’t like reading, learn to. That’s really the long and short of it.

4- Insist on your own tastes and never explore other types of material. Maybe your child doesn’t want to curl up to a lovely Beatrix Potter tale and would rather consume Garfield comics instead. Oh wait. That is my child. My children don’t have a finely cultivated taste yet. I see some signs of thoughtfulness when we discuss what makes a “good book” or a book that they would want to read again or keep forever. They are being trained to look for certain qualities. Still, they love Garfield and Captain Underpants. I know parents who absolutely refuse this sort of reading because they are determined that little Jilly dear will just LOVE Anne of Green Gables and darn it! She WILL read it, or else! Listen… I was broken-hearted when my son started snoozing through The Wind in the Willows. I tried twice but he felt like it was torture! I almost felt personally offended over it and mourned the lives of Mole and Mr. Toad that would never be experienced!  But I swallowed my hurt and moved on to something else. This happens. Some kids want to read comic books. Some might want to read how-to manuals. Some will go through a joke book phase. Be patient. Be creative. Find what interests the child. I’m not one who believes all children should be reading Harry Potter and the Twilight series just because “any reading is good reading.” Not at all.  There is an important value in reading longstanding, classic novels and for reading books that don’t immediately grab you and interest you. But there is time for that yet; we’re building a relationship remember? You can’t put a ball and chain on the kid before the courtship has properly blossomed.

5- Watch lots of TV.  Play lots of video games. Be smartphone addicted.  I’d like to think this is obvious. But it bears an important reminder. Okay so not only does excessive electronic media damage attention spans and literally rewire important brain neurons needed for reading (check it out), but it trumps the feelings of an inspired stillness in a child.  If there is “nothing to do”—media saturated kids are bored. They are waiting to be entertained or distracted by a screen. But if media is severely limited… and I’m afraid I do mean severely… kids who have “nothing to do” learn to entertain themselves. They invent games, create possibilities out of nothingness and most importantly… find a friend or an adventure waiting for them in a book. If you struggle to get your child to settle down enough for a book try getting some large muscle movement outside first— 20 minutes of hard, red-cheeked play will often buy you an hour of calm. (See the Overcoming post for more ideas)  One disclaimer worth mentioning: if you just had a baby or are newly pregnant or have sick children or need 30 minutes of peace, please don’t feel guilty about the TV thing. You are in the season of life where you desperately need the electronic babysitter effect from electronics and don’t beat yourself up over this thinking you’re failing all your Waldorf or Montessori ideals and what would the other Attachment Parenters think?! Gasp! It’s a season; get over it. Sometimes you just have to survive. It’s okay.  My toddlers spent many, many hours glued to Kipper the Dog episodes after I had my last child and they still love books. But I really do try for electronics to be the exception, rather than the norm… but I don’t get all bent out of shape when I want to take a shower in peace…

6- Obsess about reading comprehension. One of the quickest—and sadly most commonly employed—ways to kill the natural love for reading is to insist on children always looking up words they don’t know, telling or ‘reporting’ about what they read, analyzing what the author meant and nitpicking away at the style and structure of a piece of literature. I’m going to say something shocking: it’s okay if you don’t understand everything you read!  In school, some of the classics I was forced to read were The Odyssey, Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye, Jane Eyre and The Scarlet Letter.  Guess how many of those I enjoyed?  Zero. And knowing what I know about myself and about the plot of Jane Eyre, I’m pretty convinced I would love that book if I read it under my own volition. And I read The Children’s Homer: The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy with my children last year and we all loved it. But I have been scarred from the original tale. Yet, when I was 13 years old, I read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead over the summer just for fun and absolutely loved it. I didn’t understand most of what I read in that book and some of it went totally over my head, but the way Ayn Rand wrote just grabbed me and challenged me and made me want to think a little bit deeper about life. All of that wonder and excitement would have been obliterated if I was asked to do a book report on it.
Forced reading and forced judging is an intrusion on the natural relationship between a reader and author. It’s like an arranged marriage… being put through some kind of reality show.  As an adult, I enjoy almost every classic book I read now and I can understand why they’ve endured the test of time—speaking to the universal and shared experiences of humanity. But as a kid, I hated, hated, hated having to dissect every bit about a piece of literature. I quickly learned to scan through books and anticipate questions teachers would ask just so I could get on with my life.  I really like what John Holt had to say about reading comprehension… highly recommended.

So there you have it.  Six of the very best ways to ruin a love of reading in a child!

 
“We ask children to do for most of a day what few adults are able to do for even an hour. How many of us, attending, say, a lecture that doesn’t interest us, can keep our minds from wandering? Hardly any.” 
-John Holt
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Sorting and Displaying Books… for now.

Someone recently asked me how I organize books in our home.  The answer is that we’ve gone through a few different methods and the current one isn’t ideal, but it works. “Do the best you can with what you’ve got!” What we currently do is this: picture books are sorted into 12 stacks—one for each month.  The stacks not in use are stored in the attic (not ideal since it’s dusty up there but I don’t have space in our main living area quite just yet). The current month is stored in a basket like so:

Each stack is comprised of both seasonally appropriate books and generic titles.  I used to have only seasonal divisions but as our book collection grew, two things happened:  1-My basket wasn’t big enough to hold a full season.  2- Many of the books NOT season specific never got read!  Adding in generic titles to our monthly baskets was the best thing I ever did!  Now, our excellent picture books all get read and loved in a healthy rotation and the children are happy to see “novel” titles each month.  So anyway, here is the month of April spread out (doesn’t the toddler and soup near those books make you nervous?!  Me too… I quickly put them away after this–and yes, that’s the cover missing off of Caps for Sale but I can’t bear to toss it in my upcycling pile until I replace the book):
Seems I’ve got about 20-25 books for most months right now. Each week, I grab some of the books and put them on the piano for display–an (effective) effort to lure young readers into wanting to grab one of those titles. Occasionally a library book or two (library books have their own basket) will be displayed like this with our regular ones:
This is the general plan and it works well for now but it doesn’t solve the problem of most of our non-fiction titles which live on the bottom half of a shelf in our spare room. The top row seen here is pretty much every religious book we own, along with an assortment of fables and fairy tale books (probably not a great idea to put those categories on the same shelf as if they are equal genres… but it fits).  The middle row is all of our biographies, science, history, etc. books of the living sort that we read and reference frequently in our school studies. This row is full and tight and spilling onto the bottom row which is a smattering of readers, Dr. Seuss, Bob Books etc. The problem is that I often forget what I have!  I don’t want to employ the Dewey Decimal System in my home, but I’ve got to get a better accounting method going on for when we need a book on Ancient Egypt or dinosaurs for example.  I did set up a Library Thing account but it’s not been updated for over a year!  I think I’ll probably resort to shelf labels or magazine file holders for this area. It won’t be nearly as attractive but are books for aesthetics or utility?  (In my world, both… but I digress.)  
Okay, the top half of that bookshelf has our chapter books and a random smattering of games/stuff:
Our baby/board books (when not scattered throughout the house) get kept in their own little basket on a low end table for easy accessibility.  I try to rotate a few seasonal things in and out of there but mostly it’s just all the same… new ones come in via thrift stores and old ones get tossed after getting soaked, torn or chewed beyond repair. Here it was at Christmas:
So this is our method today… tomorrow may be different!  In addition to this, each child has their own small basket or shelf of personally owned or gifted books that are in their room. My daughter has hers in a really cool pallet shelf Papa built:
And my own collection of adult books are still waiting for a permanent home… except my homeschooling or education philosophy books which are accessible on a shelf above the computer.
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Bemoaning Authorized Sequels

I’m not fond of “authorized sequels” of books.  Folks should leave excellence well enough alone without trying to scratch out a few more dollars from a household name in literature. (e.g. The original two Corduroy books were perfect, the authorized sequels inferior in a hundred ways.) I agree with Elizabeth Bluemle, president of the Association of Booksellers for Children, when she says:

It’s just too much to hope that someone who isn’t the original writer will capture the voice, character, setting, pacing (and all the other elements of bookmaking) in the right measure.”

There are exceptions. Many of the newer Curious George stories are okay for example (though still not as lovely as H.A. Rey’s original seven); my kids certainly don’t notice anything amiss anyway. 

Anyway, I knew right away that I was reading the complaints of a fellow bibliozealous when I read this piece about the “new Winnie-the-Pooh” book (an ominous phrase in itself since the world of Pooh and Piglet and Christopher Robin are immortalized outside of any time era we know in the real world).  I enjoyed her insights on why exactly The Hundred Acre Wood should’ve been left in peace; there really is no such thing as excellence needing an update.

“You sense the enthusiasm and good intentions, and can even appreciate the elaborate effort that went into the display, but in the end the anomalous female figure becomes an ever-present reminder that this is a superfluous imitation. “
 C. Rosen about Return to the Hundred Acre Wood
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Who Are Picture Books For?

I don’t know what’s got me on this kick of reading picture book author’s writings (oh wait, it’s the
caffeine buzz that’s not allowing me to nap right now!) but I am chewing on some incredibly thought provoking words by the talented Shaun Tan now on the question of “Who are picture books for?

The artists’ responsibility lies first and foremost with the work itself, trusting that it will invite the attention of others by the force of its conviction. So it’s really quite unusual to ask “who do you do it for?” 

And this especially is rather profound:

 The simplicity of a picture book in terms of narrative structure, visual appeal and often fable-like brevity might seem to suggest that it is indeed ideally suited to a juvenile readership. It’s about showing and telling, a window for learning to ‘read’ in a broad sense, exploring relationships between words, pictures and the world we experience every day. But is this an activity that ends with childhood, when at some point we are sufficiently qualified to graduate from one medium to another? Simplicity certainly does not exclude sophistication or complexity; we inherently know that the truth is otherwise. “Art,” as Einstein reminds us, “is the expression of the most profound thoughts in the simplest way.”
Good stuff here, and in the whole essay.  It’s long and thoughtful, probably appreciated by only the most die-hard of bibliozealots.  Picture books are more than simply fun diversions to fill up a child’s bookshelf. Much, much more. 
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a brief scholarly detour

… to engage those brain muscles of yours. This only tangentially relates to picture books, but I stumbled on this bit by C.S Lewis on the importance of reading old books.  It’s more than intellectual snobbery or biblio-aesthetics… read the whole thing when you get a minute, or at least read until he starts talking specifically about the book he’s introducing if that doesn’t interest you.


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Indestructables!

A few weeks ago I went to a baby shower where the new mom was gifted with a couple Indestructables.  Well, me being the kind of woman I am, I was immediately intrigued by its claims to withstand baby trauma and wanted to sink my teeth into the pages.  For the sake of propriety, I refrained, but I did discreetly tug and pull on the pages as I examined this breakthrough in children’s books.  They’ve apparently been around a few years now but this was rocket science to me.

See, board books are the standby classic for babies.  And most babies do fine with board books.  My children, however, manage to soak or rip the cardboard eventually, and while they’ll last longer than our paper books, the board books are indeed mortal. Plus, this genre is very often older children’s books, reprinted on cardboard and then marketed to babies.  (Don’t get me wrong, I love board books… for about 18 months up to 4)  But indestructables are specifically made for BABIES.

Indestructables promises the fountain of youth in picture book world. They can be eaten and bent and disheveled in every which way, only to come out just as loved and bright as before.  They even promise to be machine washable!  Wowzas!

I personally wasn’t in love with the way the books felt… they are paper thin (made of a strange, vinyl-esque material) and would fit nicely into a purse (folded up!!!) or diaper bag, but I can absolutely appreciate what they offer… a pre-literacy inclusion for our youngest of bibliozealots.  The books are wordless, designed to just stimulate baby’s mind with the way a book “works” without ruining said book.

Mama and Baby!  and Plip-Plop, Pond! were the two books I examined closely. I was quite impressed and think these would make excellent baby shower gifts… who doesn’t love the irony of a baby product that is baby proof?!

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