A Bright New Day

A few weeks ago I posted I’d spent my meagre disposable income on some of the books recommended by Her Momness, Designmom.  Her site is seriouslessly addictive, parent or not.

And waddaya know, they have arrived just in time for my Advanced Parenting Weekend. My husband will be working for a lot of this weekend, so I’ll be trying to keep Monkey-Face occupied and happy. I’ve already made salt dough hearts for us to paint this weekend (sorry if this spoils the surprise on Feb 14th) and now, now now now there are exciting books to read too…

First to arrive is Not A Box by Antoinette Portis. It was first out of the package and the others have a tough act to follow. It’s a classic in the making: funny, simple and something everybody can relate to. The cover is the same colour as a cardboard box and, inside, the book explores the things a cardboard box can be to a child. Monkeyface is a little young to have played with a box in quite this way. But it immediately made me want to get my hands on a box with which to read this story with her. I cannot wait to get her home to this!

Next up, I  opened except if by Jim Averbeck. I’ve  wanted this book for an age. The cover is immediately interesting, with  an open-mouthed baby dino, cradling an egg in its mouth.  I like the story andthink it is accessible for a child, even if one as young as Monkey-Face won’t quite yet grasp the book’s central  themes of the cycle of life. The book didn’t quite  deliver on my expectations, coming as it did after Not A Box and of course having to manage my huge hopes for it. But I have found now, that books you think a child will love  can under  give a smaller return whilst other, simpler offerings are unpolished diamonds. You need a child to show you the gleam.  

Goodnight Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld isn’t like any of the books we have already. It feels quite like a pastel-drawn cartoon, but with rhymes. I think we have a big hit on our hands. I’m already thinking of the construction toys she’ll  want.

My daughter never stops singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Can I go so far as to say it is starting to get on my nerves? So I wonder how she will react to verses and verses that are as new to me as they will be to her in TwinkleTwinkle Little Star by Jerry Pinkney, a set of illustrations set the song. I wonder how tolerant she will be of them and of the classically dense paintings of the little mouse  throughout the  book. I wonder how much more Twinkle Twinkle I can stand..? Jury is out on this one

The Man in The Moon by William Joyce already sounds like a winner doesn’t it?  This book is yet too old for Monkey-Face but given husband called it “Tim Burton meets Neil Gaiman meets Jules Verne,” all I can say is, quite.

Just holding the cover of Grandpa Green by Lane Smith, immediately transported me to my own childhood and a much-loved book called Parsley  the Lion by Michael Bond, so I felt predisposed to poignancy when reading it. It holds a surprising weight and emotional resonance – I immediately thought of my own grandfather, whose absence I feel most days.  I loved it. I hope Monkey-Face will too.  

And Eric Carle. Every haul of books has to include more Eric Carle. This one included The Artist who Painted a Blue Horse, the story behind its origins every bit as charming and interesting as the book. It’s a book that works on many levels, hopefully drawing my young one into the orbit of art.

And finally, All in A Day by Cynthia  Rylant, illustrated by Nikki McClure. I’ve documented  my recent struggles with exhaustion, so it’s possible that the reaction this book prompted in me is one part due to my heightened emotional state, possibly one part due to the strong illustrations, deliberately evocative of 50s soviet Work propaganda. Either way, I wanted to immediately get on-line and buy a copy for every child I know. And maybe a few adults. I was reduced to tears by the nurturing text and the simple yet powerful yellow-white-black palate. The final page felt like emerging, tear-stained and sustained, from a particularly successful round of therapy. Buy. If you don’t have kids, I’d contemplate knocking one out just to justify buying this book. I’d type out the text here, but this would spoil the fun of reading it for yourself.

Have a great day 😀


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