Friday, February 09, 2007

Facts of life ... book form

Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late, words and pictures by Mo Willems:

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I think I may actually like this book even better than it's Caldecott Medal winning sibling, "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus." The busdriver makes a repeat performance, only this time he's holding a candle and wearing a nightcap and asking that readers NOT TO LET THE PIGEON stay up late. But as is his nature, Pigeon tries to worm his way out of going to sleep. This time Annabel stuck to her guns. She may be all for letting the Pigeon drive the bus, but no way is she letting the whirly bird stay up late.

Even though illustrator Stephen Michael King tells us in his delightful book, "Emily Loves to Bounce," that sometimes she eats and sometimes she sleeps, any reader can plainly see that Emily's singular purpose in life is to bounce. With lots of white space, this book leaves a lot to the imagination as it's quirky characters -- which include her dinosaur and Nana Pat -- hop and bounce and boing, looking for the best bounce of all -- which is mommy and daddy's bed, of course. Just becareful of the tummy bounces, they look like Emily fell on her head. No matter, she's up and bouncing on her feet in no time.

Each month Annabel comes home from preschool with Scholastic Book order forms, and every month I've felt a little like the book Scrooge, because I don't really find anything that floats my boat. So they've mostly gone into the recycling. That pains me a little because ordering books through school gives the little school house credit towards its own library. Apparently, all I needed was incentive. Recently, Lori told me that she'd like to place an order for her own collection, and I did book buying, too. While I wasn't terribly interested in television stars Clifford or Care Bears, I thought maybe it'd be good to try The Usborne's First Thousand Words in Spanish. I mean it couldn't hurt to for Annabel to have an understanding that English isn't the only language right?

Boy was I shocked when it quickly became her favorite book. She especially likes the medical pages for some reason, but also LOVES to see what's happening in the crazy kitchen. There are so many surprises in the pictures it somehow cancels out the fact that the book organized as a simple a picture book with Spanish words under their respective pictures. It also has a wonderful glossary for definition and pronounciation in the back. Of course, for a few months Annabel wouldn't let me refer to it while we were reading, so I was pronouncing LOTS of stuff incorrectly. I suppose I'll always be an ugly American.

From the moment I saw "Tub-Boo-Boo" at a local secondhand book store I was hooked. Something about Glin Dibbly's slightly freakish folks and Margie Palatini's fast paced, rhyming prose made me an instant fan. Of course, I bought the book when Annabel was only a few months old, but I had hope that in time she'd come to love it. What's not to love about a book narrated as if it were a news report by a knowing older sister about her little brother who gets his big toe stuck in the faucet of the tub. "A Tub-Boo-Boo? A Tub-what-who?" I can happily report that Annabel giggles like mad as the whole town gets trapped in the bath fiasco. This is a book that would make Laura Petry amused.

I can't believe I haven't mentioned "Homemade Love" before. Written by academic bell hooks, "Homemade Love" is a THE first book Annabel was ever mesmerized by. I kid you not, she was a two-month-old infant sitting quietly, eyes glued to the book. If she was crying the poetic words, read over and over, would put her at ease. This book is my favorite for all those early memories as well as it's sweet and loving message: "My Mama calls me girlpie, her sweet, sweet. Daddy's honeybun, chocolate dew drop. Homemade Love. All good, good." -- A perfect valentine.


Whirlwind said...

My girls LOVE the Pigeon books, although I have not picked up "Don't let the Pigeon Stay up late". For some reson, they are really into David Shannon books as well. We always have at least one from the library when we borrow books. Our last Scholastic order had some that were delayed, so we got a "free girft" a 10 page David Shonnon books similar to their favorite "Duck Rides a Bike".

Julie K in Taiwan said...

Great book reviews. I'll keep my eyes open for these ones. Glad to hear ittybit is a reader.

We were able to order from scholastic for a bit, but our contact is no longer "available". English books (well, the ones with correct English) are so expensive here, and scholastic was usually a good deal.

jenn said...

Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late is one of my daughters favorite books.

stefanierj said...

We loved DLTPDTB so much that daddymatic would read it to D IN UTERO. He won't let us read it to him NOW, mind you, but it's still our fave. We were underwhelmed by Pigeon Finds a Hotdog, but perhaps we will be won back by DLTPSUL.

And I had no idea bell hooks even WROTE kiddie lit. Thanks for the rec!