Friday, October 24, 2014

better without the words

A big thank you to the Twitter world, and to the Eric Carle Museum, for providing me this link this morning.  A Book Without Pictures, by B.J. Novak, engages the reader, makes the reader a performer, for the entertainment of the listeners, whether it be themselves, or someone else.  

The link came in as I was writing this post, about, well, the opposite.  About the books in which there are pictures but no words.  Or very few words.  Or words so small that you almost don't notice them.  Or at least choose not to notice them.  If that's how you roll.

Which, but the way, is exactly how Elliott rolls.

This morning, as we were rushing out the door for school, he did a quick evasive maneuver dodge under my arm as I was pulling the kitchen door shut behind me and ran back inside.  He didn't answer me when I called after him, oh so lovingly, where are you going?

I breathed. Rearranged the rain filled and scattered dog dishes.  And waited.  He returned, zipping something inside his raincoat.  

What is it?

He pulled out the item.  Held it up.  Owly.  And then stuffed it back down inside.


He skipped down the walkway, paused at a huge puddle, bent his knees, and jumped purposefully and perfectly into the middle of the puddle, and then dove into the car.

Halfway through our drive to school, while running the spelling of Spanish adjectives for today's quiz with Julia and while Nicholas Googled how to spell gist since he might be needing to make use of that word during his English test today, all the while offering thoughts about appropriate Halloween costumes, I heard the familiar sound of a book closing, from Elliott's seat right behind me.

All done?

It's too short, he moaned.

We dropped Nicholas and Julia in the bus circle then parked and sat for a few minutes talking together.

I like how the Owly books have all the funny expressions.  Like ugh.  And sigh.  

And how he shows what Owly is thinking about without having to say it.  Like here, where he shows a picture of his mother and father with a question mark.  I know he is wondering where they are.

Yup. We had ourselves a little impromptu book talk, he and I, right there in the car.  

Then we walked into school together.  Elliott's teacher has an amazing collection of children's books and we spend most mornings reading one together until the chime rings.  It is a very good way to start the day.

For the past few mornings, we have been reading Benjamin Chaud's The Bear's Sea Escape and The Bear's Song.  I can't tell you how much we both love these books.  But we do.  The pictures are of the variety that make me want to stroke the pages lovingly.  My apologies, to Elliott's teacher. 


There is sort of a Richard Scarry find Goldbug theme to each glorious page.  And that's just what Elliott and I do.  


I am particularly fond of the endpapers of The Bear's Song.  Chaud even got the one forgotten unhatched brood chamber in the honeycomb right.  I like that.


This morning, in our last few minutes together, Elliott and I looked at this page.


And followed with our fingers the tracks of Papa Bear and Little Bear in the snow on the rooftops.  We didn't need words to be giggling about the story told in those tracks.  We particularly liked the bear bottom plop mark.  

Sometimes you don't need all those words to be entertained, to read a good story that makes you jump right in with your eyes even when it is noisy all around you, to walk your way through a day, and to say goodbye.

After all, hibernation is better with honey.  And adventure is best enjoyed together. 
The Bear's Song, by Benjamin Chaud

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