The Great Picture Book Culling: Day 15

>> Friday, January 16, 2009

Last night Alan got to read with Jo because I was over in the new house until late - scrubbing the floors on my hands and knees. You see - when the drywall guy said they would "clean up" after they were done with the job, it turns out he actually meant they would pick up all their tools and go - leaving piles of dust and clods of dripped mud on the floors. This, of course, was after they did their best to grind that fine dust into the surface of the floor. We rented a shop-vac to clean up and we mopped several times, but it just wasn't doing the job. So yesterday - after the heat had been on all day and the concrete slab was warmed up, I hit my knees and scrubbed one third of the floor. I'll do another third tomorrow. In the meantime - Alan picked THE BEST books to read with Jo. Truly - some of my all-time favorites - chosen because they were sitting in a pile in Alan's office where he could study them as perfect picture books.

Jo's favorite was Bark, George by Jules Feiffer. When I was a book buyer I kept telling HarperCollins that they really needed to do a board book edition of this fabulous book - it appeals to a huge range of ages, from toddlers through elementary school kids. It's just about perfect, with such a simple concept. Every time George's mother asks him to bark, the sound of another animal comes out. His Mom takes him to the vet, who pulls a series of ever-larger animals out of George.
When he pulls out an enormous cow they think the problem is taken care of - but there's one more awesome surprise at the end - guaranteed to make you laugh.

Alan's favorite of the night (and mine too) was Henry Hikes to Fitchburg by D.B. Johnson. This is a perfect picture book - perfect in every way. Henry (modeled on Henry David Thoreau) and his friend are planning to go to Fitchburg. Henry decides to walk. His friend will work to earn enough money to take the train. They'll see who gets there first.

There's a lovely parallel to how their days are spent. We see Henry's friend cleaning out a chicken house. . .. . . while Henry finds a bird's nest in the grass on the facing page.
The parallells continue on every spread and the art is simply fabulous. We hope to someday acquire an limited edition D.B. Johnson print - available here. That would be a real treasure.

Jo also readMax and Pinky: Superheroes by Maxwell Eaton III - loads of fun.And Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor with art by Robin Preiss Glasser. Alan cracked me up with his comment on this one. "I was surprised by how good Fancy Nancy was. She really captures the way six-year-olds think covering every inch of something with sparkly crap makes it look beautiful." That's Jo all the way!A great night for books!

Read-a-thon total so far: 57 books read
Books culled so far: 10


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