So yesterday I was at the library and I thought I'd snag some picture books for Prawn. How can I accurately describe the mood in which that put me? I'll try by saying that I would LOVE to find books that are real STORIES that I want to read to my five-year-old for the purpose of enjoyment, as opposed to thinly veiled MESSAGES. But I'm afraid that the Otts Children's Publishing Theme Song would be "We're Bringin' Didact Back." :-P
I can't tell you how unlikely it is that if you pull a random book out of the hundreds on our library's shelves it will be an actual story book. I'm fed up with "Little Johnny is Sad," and "Merwin Recycles a Can." I've had it with "Hattie's Grandma Got Diagnosed With Cancer and then Got Run Over by a Bus," and "Jory Ate a Day-Old Chicken Sandwich and Died." Enough, please of "Charles Was Petrified of Going to School, but it Turned Out not to Kill Him After All," and "The Dentist is My Friend in Spite of all the Horrifying Instruments of Torture He Keeps On Hand" and "Harry Finds a Dead Frog," and "My Fish Died, but He Makes Great Fertilizer."
Granted, there is a time and a place for some of these, but more often than not, parents are looking for something to read that will delight their little ones and feed their imaginations -- something that makes their kids giggle or "oooh" and "aah," and then run off to build castles and dance with fairies and paint pictures and pretend they can fly. And also preferably something they can read more than once without barfing. This is getting increasingly harder to do.
So I was delighted yesterday to find "I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean." It's a simple book with a great punchline and a couple of cute little gags for the visually observant. It made all my kids laugh, and BG and me, too. I found a few others that look Less Than Awful as well. I'll keep you posted.