Edit: I have a problem with writing...I always need to reread and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. I could never keep a diary for this reason. Every time I try, I end up wanting to rewrite or rip out pages. I've been trying to resist the urge to rewrite since creating this blog, but it is bugging me that the answers I gave before don't fit in well with the theme of this blog. So, here goes -- I'm replacing my answers with ones that address children's literature instead.
For your assignment this week, choose two or more of the following questions (these are the two I chose):
How do you feel about classic literature? Are you intimidated by it? Love it? Not sure because you never actually tried it? Don't get why anyone reads anything else? Which classics, if any, have you truly loved? Which would you recommend for someone who has very little experience reading older books? Go all out, sell us on it!
(First, I have to say that I finally read War and Peace while pregnant - yeah!). Answering from the perspective of children's literature, however, defining a classic as 100 years old limits the pickings quite a bit. I know there are vintage children's books (and blogs about them!) out there, but I've never read them. Ali over at Worducopia alerted me to the existence of McGuffey Readers, and now I'm considering buying a set (like this). It sounds like the old versions took some heat for racial and religious bias, so that would be my only concern with buying the new one, but I would hope they've been expunged.
Broadening the date window for "classics" a bit more, we're able to include the Complete Winnie the Pooh and the House at Pooh Corner (1928), which I loved reading to our bibliophile when he was truly an infant (and unable to squirm away). I'm looking forward to revisiting them in a year or two, and we already have a children's set of the books all ready for him, thanks to Nana, as well as Dad's personal copy. For someone who has very little experience reading older classic children's books, I'd say to try Anne of Green Gables, which surprisingly was published in 1908 (for an older child), or perhaps Goodnight Moon, which doesn't technically qualify as 100 years old (published in 1944), but is a classic in many households. Here is a review of it that I wrote recently:
Goodnight Moon (Hardcover), by Margaret Wise Brown. I must be one of the only people that doesn't remember reading this classic tale about bedtime as a child. Still, I've heard it mentioned enough that I went hunting for it. The board book wasn't available, so we settled for the full sized version (which I'm glad about really). On the opening page, a bunny lays in bed in a "great green room," filled with objects that the reader bids goodnight, page by page. At first, I was disappointed that he wouldn't look at it. But after a few days, it made a fast recovery, aided by the appeal of a red balloon. Now I'm contemplating buying a copy for our collection. Anything that encourages sleep is welcome around here!
"Goodnight light and the red balloon/ Goodnight bears/Goodnight chairs."
Infant's Interest: He likes locating many of the items, including the red balloon, kittens, and mittens.
"Let's say you're vacationing with your dear cousin Myrtle, and she forgot to bring a book. The two of you venture into the hip independent bookstore around the corner, where she primly announces that she only reads classic literature. If you don't find her a book, she'll never let you get any reading done! What contemporary book/s with classic appeal would you pull off the shelf for her?"
Well, I'll have to assume cousin Myrtle has a child, who she has heretofore only allowed to read vintage children's books. I don't know if these really have classic appeal, but two books that I think of as classics just because I enjoyed them so much as a child are Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955) (which I can't wait for him to grow into) and Hand, Hand, Fingers Thumb (1969)(which thankfully he loves now). Mini reviews of both are below. Harold, with its monochromatic sketch illustrations, probably has more of a classic look, but "Hand, Hand" is too fun not to mention.
Harold and the Purple Crayon 50th Anniversary Edition (Purple Crayon Books) (Paperback), by Crockett Johnson. I loved these books as a child, and can't wait to read them to our son. At just over a year, he's not interested in them yet. But he will be, if I have anything to say about it! As the title suggests, the story centers around a young boy (Harold) and his magical purple crayon, which seemingly brings to life whatever he draws. He uses his crayon to create (and escape) from all sorts of exciting adventures. I just love the spirit of imagination in these books, and maybe even a hint of a deeper message about being able create the world you'd like to exist around you.
"He didn't want to get lost in the woods. So he made a very small forest, with just one tree in it."
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb (Bright & Early Books(R)) (Hardcover), by Al Perkins. One of mom's favorite books from when she was younger, and thankfully our bookworm loves it too! The rhythm of the text is very fun, and the illustrations keep his interest really well. I love that the monkeys have sideburns.
"One hand/Two hands/Drumming on a drum./Dum Ditty/Dum Ditty/Dum dum dum."Let me know what you think of these books! And I promise not to rewrite this post again... at least, not very much.