Picture books (was: Childhood favourites)

Gili Bar-Hillel abhillel at hotmail.com
Thu Feb 13 04:52:10 EST 2003

>From: Robyn Starkey <rohina at shaw.ca>

>>His mummy would rather read him "Where the Wild Things Are", "Little 
>>Bear", "Babar the Elephant", "The Gruffalo" - actually, ANYTHING that is 
>>not the noisy Spot books.
>How old is he? My experience is that many active toddlers strongly identify 
>with Max from Where the Wild Things Are (most recently my godson and my 

He's only 13 months old, so I doubt he understands what we read him enough 
to identify with it. Especially as I read to him mostly in English, whereas 
he's exposed more to Hebrew and French. I just think the whole ritual and 
interaction of reading to him is important. I don't know why "The Very 
Hungry Caterpillar" grabs his attentions so much more than any other book. 
Maybe the length is just right, maybe it's the fact that the pages are 
different lenghts so it is easier for him to grasp them and turn them (I am 
rather amazed that he knows exactly when to turn them). The "Spot" books 
drive me insane, because they have no plot. Basically, it's: "Spot saw a 
chicken." (press chicken button and listen to clucking). "Then Spot saw a 
horse." (press horse button and listen to neighing). AAAAGH!

Again, I have a great deal of respect for picture books (though I find it 
hard to classify as literature anything that was touted "dishwasher safe"). 
I do think specific books and the genre as a whole are worthy of intelligent 
discussion and academic attention. But I also think it quite natural that 
the people on this list, who seem to be here for the love of reading, would 
not name picture books as their favorite childhood books. I think of picture 
books as an entirely different genre altogether, if only because the 
experience of enjoying and interpreting picture books has as much to do with 
the illustrations as with the text.

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