Friday, May 20, 2011

Reading Our Library- Molly Bang

This week has been a busy one for us- we've had family in town for most of the week. So we haven't done very many "tot school" activities, but we've read quite a few books! This week's author is Molly Bang. This is kind of a mixed book review, because I honestly didn't enjoy some of the books we read this week.

Molly Bang is an award-winning children's book author and illustrator from the United States. She's written over thirty books for children. We recently read and enjoyed her story Yellow Ball, which is part of the Before Five in a Row Curriculum. She frequently appears on lists of recommended children's book, so I decided that we should sample more of her work.


 First up was The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher, which received a Caldecott Honor Award in 1981. To be frank, I found this book incredibly creepy. The story is told solely by the illustrations. A Grey Lady purchases some strawberries at the store and then is stalked/followed/chased by the strawberry snatcher, who looks like a mean blue goblin. Over and over again the snatcher gets close to getting the strawberries and the lady finds a way to escape. Finally, the strawberry snatcher is distracted by some blackberries and the lady arrives home safely. I had heard of the book, but wasn't aware of the content. So I was a little worried as we read the book. Fortunately, Jonathan didn't seem scared by the story. But he also didn't want to repeat it.


Then we read When Sophie Gets Angry-- Really, Really Angry which was another Caldecott Honor Book. This story is about a little girl named Sophie who gets angry when she has to give her sister a turn with her toy gorilla. She gets so angry "she wants to smash the world to smithereens". Bang's vivid warm illustrations illustrate the volcano that Sophie feels inside. Then Sophie runs and runs until she can't run anymore. She cries and climbs a favorite tree and sits there until she calms down and returns home. As a parent, I have mixed feelings about this book. I think it's appropriate for children to need to move to a "quiet place" until they can calm down. (That's helped to defuse Jonathan's temper tantrums). However, I did not like that Sophie ran away into the woods in order to do so. I think the book can provide good talking points on how to handle anger, but I'm sure there are better books out there. Jonathan sat through this story, but hasn't requested it again.



All of Me! A Book of Thanks was the next book we checked out from our library. This is a more recent publication featuring a bi-racial child who shares how he is thankful for the different parts of his body. It's a cute colorful book which would lend itself well to talking about the different parts of the body. The only caution I have is with the final page in which talks about the universe "inside all of me". As a Christian, this is too pantheistic for me. I just altered the end a bit when reading to Jonathan, emphasizing that the whole universe was made by God. Jonathan enjoyed this book and it made him laugh at points. He had fun pointing to the parts of his body as they were mentioned in the book and we talked about what the parts of the body do (knees can bend, mouths can kiss, tongues can taste, etc.) So overall, I would recommend this book with the caution to other parents that Bang's worldview isn't necessarily theistic.


Finally, we read Molly Bang's classic bedtime book Ten, Nine, Eight. This is yet another book that received the Caldecott Honor Medal. In this sweet story, a father lovingly tucks his little girl into bed while counting down from ten to one. They count ten toes, nine fuzzy friends, all the way down to one big girl ready for bed. The text is very simple and the illustrations are very soothing. There's nothing objectionable at all in this story, and it held it's appeal for Jonathan. It's a perfect story to read before bedtime (or naptime) and you can easily expand on the story find your own things to count in your child's room.

I am linking this post to:

Read-Aloud Thursday @ Hope Is the Word
Feed Me Books Friday @ Little Sprout Books
What My Child is Reading @ Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns


4 comments:

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

We read a Molly Bang book this year in our plant study. Her illustrations are amazing, aren't they? I agree that some of her content might need added discussion, too, though.

As for when I started reading chapter books to my girls, I think my oldest was almost four. I'll come back when I'm on the big computer and link you up to reviews of our first chapter book read-alouds. (I'm using my iPod now.)

I'm so glad you linked up to RAT this week!

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Here's a link to my review of the Molly Bang book about plants that we read:

http://www.hopeisthewordblog.com/2011/03/31/read-aloud-thursday-plants/

And another science book entitled My Light

http://www.hopeisthewordblog.com/2009/10/26/my-light-by-molly-bang/

And yet another Japanese folktale. There's lots of discussion in this post about discussing difficult topics with our children, etc.

http://www.hopeisthewordblog.com/2009/10/23/japan-go-alongs-and-some-ponderings/

I think Charlotte's Web was the first chapter book I read aloud to my girls. However, I think I'd start with My Father's Dragon and its sequels, especially with boys. They are short and exciting. Here's a link to my review of My Father's Dragon:

http://www.hopeisthewordblog.com/2008/10/21/book-review-my-fathers-dragon/

I've also read its sequels, Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland and reviewed them on my blog. Some people have found Elmer's attitude problematic (especially toward his parents), but I wasn't too much bothered by it, given the young ages of my children. Your mileage may vary, of course. :-)

I'm sorry to leave such a long comment!

Brandi said...

We have the last book...10, 9, 8 and Marlee like's it just to count and stuff. I haven't read the rest of her books though...and probably won't now.

We got some books from the library (that I had picked online for a theme we were going to do) and they weren't all that interesting to Marlee... and they got awards too.

Anne@LittleSproutBooks said...

Catching up on neglected links! Thanks for linking up at Feed Me Books Friday! Your reviews of the content of each book are so thoughtful and thorough - I really appreciate your consideration of "between the lines."

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