I am a day late meeting the deadline for the first round of Jay’s (This Is My Truth Now) Children’s Book Marathon, but for what it is, here it is, with reviews of Picture Books read 8/4-8/9. This category could easily be subtitled, “Classic Children’s Picture Books.”
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak in its heyday was a genre bender and made critics question what is “appropriate” for children. It turns out, kids love monsters, especially wild and free one like in Sendak’s drawings. It speaks a subversive message for children to break free: break free of “proper’ constraints we put on children and run to the place where the wild (and free) things are. There the reader and the wild things cavort and rejoice in their freedom. Doesn’t every child secretly yearn to break free?Don’t adults wish they could do the same thing? Unfortunately, adults have lost track of the place where the wild things are, but children revisit them in their dreams and in their trips into the illustrations in this wonderful picture book.
Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss left the realm of children’s picture books many years ago and became “the thing” to give the graduating high school or college senior. It’s message, You can go anywhere and be anything you want to be, breeds thoughts of unstoppability and un-limits. For children, little children, it encourages them to dream big and hang on to their possibilities–for they are unlimited.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown was turned down as a nighttime read by a four year old who told me, “That’s a baby book. I want something with dragons or stormtroopers!” Goodnight Moon is, indeed, a baby book, perhaps the best out there. (However Pat the Bunny ranks right up there with two year olds.) In the book, mother (or father) and child say goodnight to each beloved thing in the familiar nursery, ending with looking out the window and bidding the moon a goodnight. Just writing the review calms me down and makes me sleepy as I recall the book. This is the perfect book for baby to fall asleep by.
For a myriad of reasons: illustrations; inspirations; and soothing, calming sleepy-times for parent and child; these three picture books are deservedly children’s classics.