Sunday, November 13, 2011

This Week's Books

A Winter Day by Douglas Florian
One boy is almost asleep and the other is almost awake; this is the time I should be napping myself but I'm just so warm and fuzzy from the book I just read before naptime. "A Winter Day" is one of those simple and nostalgic type of books that get me thinking about writing kids literature. The only thing is, I'm no artist and so many books are written and illustrated by one person, especially books with so few words. To quote the entire book: "A Winter Day. Cold and gray. Snowflakes. Pancakes. Cover your heads. Skates and sleds. A snowball grows. Warm your toes. Everything white. Orange light. A winter night." It is a poem, even if it wasn't written to be one; it's short, list-y, image-laden, sentimental but thankfully, with very few adjectives, in a word: perfect - or poetic - I often consider these two words to be synonymic anyway.

Little House, Little Town by Scott Beck
This is the other book that I just can't seem to return to the library. My husband recently remarked upon reading it for the dozenth time, "Why do all kids books take place in pastoral settings?". Well, for one, they probably don't it's just that I tend to favour the ones that do (and therefore, bring them home from the library) because it's what I like. Also, I grew up in a rather pastoral setting myself and wish to convey some of the freedom and security that I felt as a child due to my surroundings to my kids growing up in a rental house in the city. This book encapsulates the sentiment of a childhood realization that I assume is a common one for I remember it well. That is, that there is a world of other people going about their own lives every moment of every day and they are making the world go round. I clearly remember lying down for naptime at daycare when I was three or so and hearing the occasional car approach, accelerate, pass, and fade into the distance while feeling snug and cozy but aware of the world out there. While I have thought that I could improve upon Beck's particular words, a few lines really resonate with me. "Daddy turns the sprinkler on. Mama yawns a little yawn and pats her baby's back. Outside the train goes down the track." And later in the day, "People head home from the park. The mechanic puts his tools away. Children come in from their play. Now it's getting dark. Daddy rocks his boy to sleep. And with a kiss upon the cheek, he puts his baby down... in his little crib, in their little house, in the little town". I suppose it helps that Beck even uses our family's preferred parental pronouns, but there is something more that relaxes me when I read this book and it seems to do the same to my son. What more could you ask for in a bedtime story?

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