Reading to Children

I love to read to my kids. Some of the books are really amazing and very illustrative. I could not believe the details that many of these books had. My favorite ones are Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann, Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, Dr.Seuss Series Clifford’s Christmas and all of Eric Carl’s creations. Most of these books are driven by the pictures and illustrations. Every time, we read these books we discover something new.  

It took us a few reads before we noticed the red balloon flying high in the Good Night Gorilla book. The balloon is flying towards the sky and is seen in almost all the pages. The mouse trying to drag the banana is a super hit with my daughter. She laughs hard when the Giraffe steps on the thread tied to the banana and the mouse is trying to get him off of the thread and pull the banana. When Mrs.Zookeeper says Good Night, she is expecting only one in return from her husband but she gets quite a few of them. My daughter loves to match the ‘good nights’ to the source. “…..this one is the Elephant because it is big! This is the mouse – see…’s small”. She also loves the surprised eyes of the lady in the dark and imitates that expression every time we read it. 

I love the Cat in the Hat book. The words rhyme, repeat…my daughter easily falls asleep reading that one. She has seen the movie too and enjoyed it – but I thought she had a different level of enjoyment than the reading of the book. She is not happy with everything the books offer her though – I started getting insights into her mind when one day she asked me – what is the name of the boy in the Cat in the Hat book – I said “He is Sally’s brother.” – That was not acceptable to her. Sally and her brother were sitting there when they heard a thump and they saw the Cat stepping on the mat – “Mommy………..Why do they say that? – Are we not allowed to step on the mat? “ I did not understand why she was confused about that – I thought maybe it is my tone while reading – I changed my tones when we get there, but the question did not go away. Why we are not allowed to step on the mat?? I am yet to figure out what she is thinking on this one. What would she tell her Mommy – she would tell that she made a mess and cleaned it up – very truthful! 

One day we reading Clifford’s Christmas right after Cat in the Hat. She found something very strange – in Cat in the Hat, the Cat pats Thing one and Thing two and it is illustrated in the picture. Santa came to Clifford’s house and fell down from the roof. Clifford helped Santa out and before leaving Santa pats Clifford. The patting of Clifford is in the text and not illustrated. So, my daughter swears that Santa did not pat Clifford – “Mommy, he doesn’t. See….He doesn’t.” That is when I realized how difficult it is to write for children, because their imagination and their world is many a time incomprehensible.  

Eric Carle is a great “Picture Writer” and we own most of his books. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is my favorite. I believe it is a multi dimensional book through which kids experience the life of a caterpillar, turning into a beautiful butterfly. The way the seven days of the caterpillar’s hungry life is illustrated is awesome. I was thrilled to see the ending to this story. The firefly book is another great one. Then there are the Polar Bear, Brown Bear books…..The one common thing about all his books that we own is that they are board books. They last forever. I read the Polar bear and brown bear books to her casually for a long time. Then one day as I was exploring the books I realized that all the animals pictured were endangered animals. What a neat way to get a message across!