(Music added afterwards – Julian Smith)
My daughter’s parents have been living on opposite sides of the country for work. The family is reunited now, which is really wonderful. I’ve gotten to take a little break from reading the same book repeatedly (third day back I hear “but I just read you this one, you don’t want to read a different one?” No, she doesn’t, sorry! Heh heh) and everything is just generally better. The second day we were all together I told my daughter, “Go and pick out a good book from your shelf for your daddy to read to you.” She goes to her shelf. She stares at her shelf. She spreads her arms wide and says “They are all good.” Both of her parents found it funny and wonderful. I also agree, my daughter has a lot of great books. Some are books we bought because they looked so interesting. Some people gave to us before she was born. Some of them are books we picked up for free. Some are books that were her father’s when he was a kid. Some are books I remember having my parents read to me. Some are books friends of mine have loved and passed on. Some are books relatives read to their kids. Some are books that made people think of us. Some are books I wouldn’t have ever thought of getting for my daughter, but I am so glad someone else did. When you get older you often have less time to experiment, picture books are short and it is so easy to read one that represents a totally different world (imaginary or real, culturally, in terms of period, etc.), to move back between the new and the familiar (it would be like if every night I could reread one of my Italian novels and reread a Jan Austen novel and read a work of new fiction and a classic I have never read and a biography and a book translated from a language/culture I know little about and something bizarre recommended to me by a friend). Although a couple of my daughter’s books cane be annoying, the variety is incredibly exciting. I thought it was impossible to go wrong with picture books, but lately I have come across a few. I’ll save a discussion of them for a post called “books I will never read,” but I’d like to keep this one positive, so I’ll end with an image from Ideal Bookshelf (I’m paranoid about getting anything new for our walls, because last time we took the time to hang things we ended up moving, but someday I’d love an “Ideal Bookshelf” print). Where do your kids’ books come from? Do you have things you remember learning (recently or long ago) from a children’s book? What would be on your “Ideal Bookshelf,” children’s version?
(Wait, are you upset that it is Monday and besides the Curious George book pictured below I didn’t include anything on monkeys? Well, no fear, I am going to talk about some monkeys tomorrow. This week’s posts are going to concentrate on books that are shown in this Ideal Bookshelf image.)