Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Picture Book are Not Just for Kids! Part 6

To tie up this little series, I thought I would go back to childhood.  Comparing my taste in books now to my taste when I was a child has surprised me!  I remember the library* books that stood out to me the most when I was a new reader were those that captured my imagination and took me beyond what I could experience in normal life as a little kid.  Today I enjoy books that are clever, funny, and beautifully illustrated, but many of my first books don't really rank with this criteria.  I do still enjoy books that spark my imagination, but maybe (it hurts me to admit!) I need a little more help starting up my imagination than I used to - I certainly use it less these days.  In any case, here are a few of the books, and book series, I loved as a child that wouldn't necessarily make my favorites list if I had discovered them today.

Eloise: A Book for Precocious Grown Ups by Kay Thompson
Why I loved it: I thought this book was so much fun.  It still is, actually.  I loved how Eloise had such an active imagination, and how the things she imagined up appeared as illustrations in red outlines.  I also loved the fact that she had a pet turtle that lived with her and her pug.  In fact, I named my childhood turtle Skipperdee, after hers.  I envied her independence, and the fact that Eloise had a live-in Nanny.  I think I sometimes even imagined the apartment complex we lived in during my elementary years was a fancy hotel because the idea made me feel glamorous like Eloise.  So basically, Eloise made my childhood much more exciting than it actually was, and that was a good thing!  We also have a version that includes an audio CD, Eloise Read-Along.

Animalia by Graeme Base
Why I loved it: This book provided hours of entertainment and challenge for my young mind (plus my sister and I could look at it together without fighting - mostly).  It never got old, no matter how many times I had looked at it or for how long.  Each page is an illustration for one letter of the alphabet and contains innumerable items beginning with that letter.  It is also accompanied by a caption made only by alliterations of words beginning with that letter.  For example, "lazy lions lounging in the local library" accompanies the L illustration.  The goal, at least when I read it, is to name as many items in the picture as possible.  I remember this being tricky, because sometimes I didn't know what an item was, so I couldn't name it, and especially not using a word beginning with the correct letter.  (Last year I discovered The Eleventh Hour by Base and spent several happy hours solving its puzzles.)

Andrew and the Wild Bikes by Allen Morgan
Why I loved it: This book made me fall in love with my bicycle.  I could not stop thinking about what my life would be like if I came across a herd of living, furry bicycles, and got to catch one and tame it.  Imagining that I had done just that, I would tear up and down our street on my own bike.  The idea of this story was so intriguing that the feeling of it has stuck with me all these years, and although the book is not so much attractive to me any more, it still inspires me and takes me back to the excitement of my childhood dreams.  (Sadly, there is no picture for this one in the catalog!)

Frances books by Russell Hoban
Why I loved them: Frances is such a distinct and likable character, with her little ditties and sweet quirks, such as sitting below the sink and avoiding any food aside from bread and jam.  Her habits and ways of thinking so accurately represent the behaviors of young children.  Which, of course, I didn't realize when I was a young child reading the Frances books, but I'm sure the fact still improved my relationship with her.  As an adult reader, I love how Frances' parents don't try to change her or force her to behave, but rather, they patiently guide her as she works things out on her own.

Strega Nona books by Tomie DePaola
Why I loved them: I recall that an elementary school librarian read one or more of these to my class for storytime, which was a cozy, happy time of my week at school.  Therefore, I think I loved these (and still do) because of that warm association it created.  I remember especially loving the look of the illustrations of these books - the colors, the consistency, the texture.  I liked the magic in each of the books, each of the unique characters, and the little snippets of Italian sprinkled throughout.  I still get the same warm, fuzzy feeling whenever I pick up a Strega Nona book.  My favorite is Strega Nona Meets Her Match.

I will never stop enjoying picture books, but I'm done sharing them on the blog for now.  I hope you enjoyed the tour!

*My Grandma always took my sister and me to Tony Hillerman - where did you go when you were little?  Do you remember any books that caught your imagination?  Please share in the comments!

No comments: