This year we only had luggage space to bring board books for Ellie Jo. She has the classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear that I find impossible to read with any sort of interesting vocal inflection. She has a Richard Scarry book and I’ve discovered that in my family we pronounce the last name as “scary” while in Robin’s family they say “scar-y” – does anybody know the proper pronunciation? There are various books about airplanes, baby animals, jungle animals, daddies and puppies, but I think our favorite books are Mommy Hugs (gorgeous painted illustrations) and Moo, Baa, La La La!
So, I actually enjoy reading about 1/6 of the board books. I fully intend on that fraction increasing when we can have regular picture books around. The following four authors are part of the reason why:
-Graham Oakley. He wrote and illustrated a series about church mice and a church cat named Sampson. I loved checking these books out from the library when I was growing up. The illustrations always entertaining and the text delightfully British (have YOU ever thought of swapping Christmas with the summer Bank Holiday?). Unfortunately, I think most of these books are out of print. Someday Ellie Jo is going to wonder why she only gets a single book for her birthday and nothing else…
-Jill Barklem. I had to look up her name because I really only know the name of the series that she authored and illustrated: the Brambly Hedge stories. Oh! the detailed illustrations. My imagination loved the cut-away views of the mouse homes (ummm, maybe I have a thing for mice) and the adventures in and among the hedge. “When the days are the shortest and the nights are the coldest…” I’m pretty sure my mom has this little poem memorized from all of the times she gave us a dramatic reading.
-Breatrix Potter. Ok, I’ll admit it now…I think that I could have an entire collection of kid’s books about mice. I love the Tailor of Gloucester and The Tale of Two Bad Mice so much that I bought them at Nakumatt last year for ridiculous amounts of money. I think that the stories are so unique. And really, who can resist little mice trying to eat dolls fake food?
-Bill Peet. Perhaps there are some mice in a few Peet books, but he breaks my streak of mouse-themed books. Bill Peet was a Disney illustrator (there! Disney – that’s where mice come in!) who eventually moved into writing/illustrating his own books. His books have funny illustrations and involved stories with lots of text. Plus they have fun names like “The Whingdingdilly” and “How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head.” Wow, just reading through the list of book titles on Wikipedia makes me wish for a well stocked library around here. His books remind me of a less-stylized Dr. Seuss.
So, now, slowly by slowly, I need to begin acquiring these books that I love. Maybe someday Ellie Jo will decide that she doesn’t appreciate them and then I’ll have an excuse to keep them all for myself…