Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Wonderful Trio

I'm all excited about an amazing trio of adorable picture books. They would make an awesome Christmas gift to those who like to give books to little ones. In fact, Amazon has the three in a boxed set. But of course, we'd rather support our local business and buy them at MudPuddles!

Little Pea, Little Hoot, and Little Oink by Amy Krouse Rosenthal are about as perfectly written as a picture book can be, and the illustrations by Jen Corace are delightful as much for adults as for children.

Little Pea is about a little, yes, pea, who hates to eat candy, but must eat five pieces in order to have his favorite dessert: spinach! Little Hoot hates to stay up late, but must play for one more hour before he is allowed to go to bed. Little Oink hates to be messy, but must make his room a proper pigsty before he can play his favorite game - house - where he can clean and scrub to his heart's content.

The beauty of these stories, from my point of view as a story reader/teller and aspiring author, is not just the humor and twist on age old parent/child conflicts, but the structure and pattern each story follows. In each book, the child says "When I grow up, I'll let my child (fill in the blank) whenever he wants!" He does what the parent asks, but when he says "Now can I (fill in the blank)," they answer with "Ten more minutes..." or "Five more pieces..." and the child counts "One, two, three..." Finally the child is released to do what he wants, which is the opposite of what any normal, redblooded American child would choose.

These books are entirely satisfying and comprehensible to the age group they're aimed at. I love the colorful illustrations that have little hidden surprises. It's one of those times when after you've read lots of picture books you think, yeah, that's okay, but something doesn't sit quite right. Then you read something like these little books and you think "That's it!! A perfectly written story!!" (And the little voice in me says "Why can't I do that?!")

Okay, I'll tuck my envy away now. Sigh... Maybe someday....

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