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Monday, December 13, 2010

The Napping House: Our House

When Mom and Dad are teachers and children are college students, the entire household runs along the rhythms of the academic calendar. As of last night, we are ALL DONE.

And now we enter The Napping House.

This remains one of my all time favorite picture books. We still have ours, packed away for some future recipient. There was an article in the New York Times recently, chronicling a change in the publishing industry: so many parents are pushing their children away from picture books and towards chapter books and other more "mature" early readers that the industry is publishing fewer and fewer picture books each year.

Don't do it, Dear Readers! Picture books are wonderful and, in the best, there's a lot going on in the illustrations. I'm sure they develop some part of the brain that chapter books do not. Our children read both, and I'm sure they are the better for it. I know I'm the better for having read all those picture books with them.

Isn't it great that on a coldish day, we can talk about "our cozy bed" in the "napping house where everyone is sleeping." So today, we're drinking tea, taking occasional naps between our feather beds and the big down comforters. We're all wearing thrifted cashmere sweaters and fuzzy slippers.

Eventually--on account of the wakeful flea--everyone in the napping house wakes up and goes outside. We don't have the flea, but I suppose we will all get back to work soon enough.

If you have a child to buy a gift for, think about The Napping House. Or buy it for yourself, just in case a child comes over. Or just in case you feel in need of a little beauty in word and picture.


SewingLibrarian said...

I love The Napping House! I also like The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by the same authors. Picture books are treasures, and it saddens me to think that some children are being pushed away from them. What a loss!

Duchesse said...

I love "The Journey Home" by Joanne Flindall, which I bought from Discovery Toys. I see there's a copy listed on eBay for $9.99!

SewingLibrarian said...

I forgot to add that Jan Brett's books are wonderful works for children to look at closely - much charming detail, and nobody can draw a hedgehog with personality like she can.

FB @ said...

Heck I just need to read it for ME.

I like children's books with little popups and pictures. They have plenty of time to read the printed word, they should enjoy illustrations.

Jane said...

We are an academic household also and our last day is this Friday:)I have kept my daughter's favorite picture books (and a lot of my own) to pass on to her children someday. The thing about picture books is they're never outdated. She loved the Angelina Ballerina books, all the plasticene books by Barbara Reid, and anything related to dancing - at the age of 4 she then became a highland dancer for real:)

Anonymous said...

I am so far from being done. Students turned in their finals yesterday and now I have to grade them. Then lots of faculty meetings.

The Red Ripe Strawberry is fun! And I don't understand the fascination that kids have with the Gruffalo-- he would have creeped me out. Ferdinand is still a favorite of mine. Max's Words and Max's Dragon are great new illustrated books.

Some of us aren't pushing our kids towards chapter books... it's just that The Magic Treehouse books are incredibly gripping for all ages and there are a lot of them. Our kid has a 7 foot bookcase filled with books from infant to 4th grade level and he chooses what he chooses. Last night he chose a bunch of Sesame St. lift-the-flap counting books, some nights he chooses a Ruth Chew.

He is a little light on things like Bill Peet, Paddington Bear, etc. Books at a higher reading level than the chapter books he's reading that aren't chapter books, but my mom is planning on filling in those gaps at Christmas. (My mom donated our old copies of those to a school library after we outgrew them.) We will need to get a second bookcase soon.

Frugal Scholar said...

@SewingLibrarian--We have that one too. And we especially love The Mitten by Brett.

@@Duchesse--Oh, we never read that one. I'm going to see if the library has it.

@FB--Go ahead!

@Jane--Enjoy the end of your semester. We have a giant box of books packed away. Can't wait to bring them out.

@N/M--Whatever the child wants to read is fine, of course! The article detailed the "loss of market share" of picture books.