Ah, We Recommend, where at least we have the option of someone commenting, as opposed to the empty barren wasteland of my last post. However! We're here to have you guys e-mail us with specific requests, which we then try to match up with just the perfect book, and then everyone else offers even better ideas in the comments. Or something along those lines. Now without further ado…
Today we have a request from a poor beleaguered parent who is hoping we can offer a book for her little boy that isn't only about cars, trucks, and footballs. I am reminded of when a somewhat-horrified friend of mine received a onesie with modified epaulets for her newborn, after having watch my girls get tons of small happy frogs sniffing flowers and the like. But I'll let the writer tell you.
I'm looking for some book recommendations for my 2 1/2 year child, who is a boy; whose gender I almost don't want to state so as not to limit his, as yet undeveloped, tastes. Ok, he loves cars and trucks but he'll read most anything. A good story is starting to trump a good picture-book. His favorite picture book was "Cars and Trucks and Things That Go," Richard Scary. Now he likes "Sally Jean the Bicycle Queen," especially the part where she makes her own bicycle out of recycled parts. He also likes "The Kissing Hand." He loves music, dancing, cars, trucks, boats, trains, love and sweetness, animals, fairies, tools, adventures. He does not like scary or sad subject matter. I do not like books which use the word "firemen" instead of "firefighter" and in which typically male jobs are only portrayed by males and vice versa (ie the old Richard Scary, and for that matter, most everything else).
For sure, I can identify. As who can not? I remember the day a fellow parent of a kindergartner mentioned to me, "Someone just told me that when grown-ups talk to little kids, if it's a girl they almost always start with 'What a pretty…' or whatever, soemthing about what the girl is wearing, while with a boy, they say 'Hey, what are you doing?' And I've realized—I do it too!" And of course, I do it as well, try as I might not to. It's a tricky, boggy world. I mean, a kid come up to in a sparkly tutu with a boa and twirls: she wants you to notice it. But how do we remind them and ourselves that the world is much bigger than that, while still retaining a healthy respect for what a kick-ass tutu said child might be wearing?
But I digress.
I didn't have an idea when I first read this email, but in writing about something springs full-blown into my head, a gift to a nice, small four-year-old-Chestnut-that-was (from a boy, no less, whose mother said he LOVED this book):
It's a collection of small stories and poems, so not exactly a story story, it's still lots of fun and very good for a small young person, such as we are dealing with today. It also has the added benefit of being a really nice book to start to learn to read from, as nothing is too long, and they were very cheery illustrations to support you along the way. Altogether, kind of excellent. And something we went back to over and over, now that I think of it.
But I don't actually have a boy, and no doubt people have all sorts of different ideas of what would be just perfect. Do tell, in the comments.