Friday, May 16, 2014

Our Contributors' Favorites for CBW - Part 3

Some books speak to us as parents even while they entertain and educate our little ones. And some books are pure flights of fancy, breaking convention, and letting the imagination soar.

Continuing where we left off in the earlier installment, here are some of the favorites from The Mad Momma and Choxbox.

The Mad Momma's Picks

Make way for Ducklings
Robert McCloskey

A book old enough to be read by my grandmother as a child (unfortunately she didn't!) it has that classical appeal across generations and here I was, reading it to my two little ones, decades after it won a Caldecott. One of the first few books I read to the Brat and the Bean, even then it captured my new mother fears - Were my babies safe? Was I bringing them up in the right place?

Mr and Mrs Mallard, like any concerned parents, are looking for a good place to raise their ducklings. The pond in the busy Boston Public Garden is obviously not good enough with its busy swan boats and crowds. But a quiet little island on the Charles River is finally located and pronounced just right. There she raises them as fine self respecting ducklings who their swimming and diving and walking in line. And are finally ready to deal with the Boston Public Garden.

But how do the ducklings get there across busy roads? Mrs Mallard reminds one of those society mamas who will not stop at anything to see her children where they belong as she takes them and marches down intersections, throwing traffic into a tizzy. Policemen snap alert and begin to redirect and stop traffic, just to allow them through. Because Mrs Mallard will do what it takes for her children.

Simply beautiful and beautifully simple illustrations and a lovely old story that continues to warm the cockles of our hearts, generation after generation.

[image source: Penguin books]

The Big Orange Splot
Daniel Manus Pinkwater

Mr Plumbean lives on a street where all the houses are cookie cutter. One day, inexplicably and implausibly, a flying seagull drops a bucket of paint on his roof. Mr Plumbean is prevailed upon by neighbours to clean up the eyesore and so he works on it at night. Except that the neighbours wake up to see that he's lost his marbles and painted the house wildly, like an explosion. He then added a clock tower one day, a hammock the next and as a final touch, an alligator lazing on the lawns.

One of the neighbours decides to bell the cat and goes over to talk some sense into him. He sits late into the night sipping lemonade with him and the next day he turns his house into a ship. One by one, the neighbours stop by to convince Mr Plumbean to get over his madness, only to get talked into it themselves. Soon the entire street is like a vivid dream with Grecian buildings, hot air balloons, turrets and what not.

My children loved this book and still do, for the streak of unconventionality it propounds. Living in India, they'd never seen a street with identical homes and the idea was ludicrous to them and it was only right that Mr Plumbean broke free, they felt.

This is a fabulous book about being an individual and unique, about living your dream, no matter how crazy others think it is, about inspiring others to break free of convention. I had a good mind to hand out copies to a lot of the adults I knew too! As for the kids, they fall about laughing every time someone describes Mr Plumbean's decision in a colourful way - He's popped his cork, flipped his wig, blown his stack, dropped his corker, gushed his mush and lost his marbles.'

[image source: Scholastic]

Choxbox's Picks

You Choose 
by Nick Sharratt:
illustrated by Pippa Goodheart

If there is one book that holds an uncountably large number of memories of snuggling up with a little warm body and reading, it is this one. It is still there somewhere safe in our bookshelf, its pages bearing the marks of having been read every single day for years. The book is perfect for budding imaginations - you can pore over every page for hours and talk about the various possibilities.

This is a book of few words and many pictures, the words being mere questions to set your thoughts racing. Who would you like to be? An artist? an astronaut? A dancer? A scientist? A teacher? You choose, from almost a hundred possibilities. The delightful pictures by Nick Sharatt will catch your eye over and over and make you chuckle at the little details he has managed to include.

You decide what you want to eat - cake and croissants? Veggies and fruits? Noodles and nachos? A cauldron of witch's potions complete with frog's eyes? You choose, from pages full of delicious spreads.

What would you like to wear? A ladies elaborate ball dress? A fencer's costume? Or plain old tights and spotted tee? You choose from options that could fill up many many wardrobes.

So will you pick this book up and fill it up with delicious memories that will make you smile even years after your toddler is no longer one? You choose!

by Nick Butterworth

When you are the mother of a teen, I suppose you can admit openly that you have forgotten things. Like what books you read with your once-upon-a-time-two-footer. I never thought I would say this - but I really am having to rack my brains to remember even one of them.

Aha, got it. This one stands out in my memory - the book in question is called QPootle5, penned by the wonderful Nick Butterworth.

QPootle5 is a cute alien on his way to a party on the moon. However a small accident on the way means he lands up on Earth, with a broken spaceship. The rest of the story is all about various earthlings trying to help him and how ultimately the problem is resolved.

A heart-warming story, and as I said I became NMamma28 for a while after this (can you decipher that?!)


ranjani.sathish said...

Mad Momma, I looovve 'Make way for Ducklings'. With sparse and clear illustrations, yet with its own style of illustration - it is one of the classics of Childrens Books.

Sheela said...

@TMM: The Big Orange Splot sounds interesting, will check it out. Make Way for Ducklings is a classic, thanks for sharing it here!
@Choxbox: You Choose is awesome! Will check out QPootle5.

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