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