Monday, November 5, 2012

A Picture (Book) is Worth a Thousand Words

And just like that, it's November.


Both of Em's baby showers are over and done (and a HUGE thank you to all the lovely ladies who did so much to make the events special) and now it's a waiting game.

Cuteness Level: Extreme
Luckily, we got a lot of books as gifts.  We registered for a few, but the very clever invite asked people to bring a children's book in lieu of a card.  Being a bibliophile, I was thrilled to begin to build out the baby's bookcase in advance of her arrival.

Ermagerd! Kids Berks!

It got me thinking about the children's books that were read to me as a kid -- and those that made regular circulation without my request.

Hands down, without a doubt, my number one contender for best picture book of all time is Where the Wild Things Are.  Max's misadventures and the pictures that Sendak created are easily one of the biggest influences on my creativity.  I used to have terrible nightmares as a kid, and there was something empowering about the way Max rules over all the wild things.  Big, scary monsters were nothing for Max to contend with, and when things got a bit dicey (and by dicey, I mean that they were looking to eat him) he left in his private boat and came home.  To where dinner was waiting for him.

Yes.  These are all mine.  And the one to the right is
my original copy from when i was a kid.
The stories that were read to me, without my asking, were slightly different in nature.  I can remember two in particular.

One was a book about a house and its non-human inhabitants who get sick of the people not cleaning up after themselves.  So all the anthropomorphic items in the house (I can remember one particularly pissed off tube of toothpaste) get up and leave one by one until, finally, the house sprouts legs and takes off down the street because it doesn't want to be lived in by people who don't take care of it.

I wish I could remember the name of it (Google couldn't help me this time), not so much because I'd want to purchase it all over again, but because I'd love to see what psychological scarring it caused.  How messed up is that?  Scaring a kid into cleaning the house because it might up and leave if you don't? 

In all fairness, it really didn't work.  I usually pushed all my toys and dirty clothes under the bed and then made my bed really well.  This (in my memory) worked for some time, before I started running out of clothes and my dad had to look under the bed to find them.

Because sharing bread would be Socialism.
The second book was The Little Red Hen.  If you've never heard the story, here's the CliffsNotes version: little hen does all the work preparing a loaf of bread.  She asks for help from Sleepy Cat, Lazy Dog and Noisy Duck and none of them want to lift a finger (or paw or wing).  Now, one might ask (and rightfully so) why are you befriending people whose nicknames are "Sleepy," "Lazy," and "Noisy" and then expecting them to do anything, but apparently the good people at Golden Books have decided that is beside the point.  In the end, the Little Red Hen makes a kick-ass loaf of bread and her schmuck friends all want to eat it, but she won't share because they didn't help out.

And the moral of the story is "Hold a Grudge because Lazy People Don't Deserve Your Charity."

Or something like that.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that The Little Red Hen might be mandatory indoctrination reading for future members of the Republican Party.  The Hen is red, after all.

I'm sure that there is a much clearer message inherent in The Little Red Hen but whatever it is, it's lost on me.    So, sorry about that one, Dad -- whatever morality you were trying to bake into your son got lost in translation.

I've got about six weeks to kill between now and Baby's arrival.  I'll probably use it to catch up on my reading.

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