I recently found tucked away in the attic of our house my daughter’s picture books. It has been almost two decades since she and I pored over those books, getting lost in the magic of color, sound, and images. There were so many! From the quietly unassuming Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter to the stately visual puzzles of Animalia by Graeme Base. Both books are so different yet stunning in their imagery, and of course, very appealing to our artistic souls. Good books engender imagination and elaboration, and we did quite a bit of that in our household.
Interactive books were our favorites. My daughter loved The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle; she enjoyed the bright, bold colors, the caterpillar’s playful, progressive eating through the pages, and the final discovery of transformation. We also sang along, with all its moving parts, to the whimsical Wheels on the Bus by Paul O. Zelinsky and the cheerful Farmer in the Dell by Mary Maki Rae. Freight Train by Donald Crews, a color concept book, full of movement and energy, allowed us to spiritedly chug down the tracks and end with a resounding "Choo! Choo!" as the train disappeared into its cover.
Part of the readaloud fun was making up stories. A recurring one was the adventures of cowboy boot-wearing Little BooBoo (this was long before reality TV!) - a feisty, headstrong, little girl (not unlike the little girl who once sat next to me) who constantly lost one of her boots and then had to wrestle it back from an ornery rabbit. We engaged in storytelling and story-playing and sometimes the evening culminated with me pirouetting around the room in Fantasia-hippo-style, perhaps a silly thing to do, but all worth it when I could see the delight in my daughter’s eyes.
~Written by Patricia B., Chief of Central Services