Every weekend I will post a review of the books we’ve read that week. Get it? Read, past tense? Read Balloon? Like, you know?
I know. It’s incredibly clever. Thank you.
This week Harper’s most requested book is hands-down Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See. Not a very original choice, I know, but what can I say? She carries it around the apartment saying “Bow Bear? Bow Bear?” until one of us relents and reads it again. Or sings it, I should write, since she specially requests the musical version. She’s also a big fan of Baby Bear, Baby Bear, particularly when the Momma Bear appears at the end, and she gets to shriek, “Momma!” (If you ask me, Baby Bear is the best of the sequels. Panda Bear is a little didactic and off-rhythm, and Polar Bear has that weird confusing ending.)
Obviously, Eric Carle’s illustrations are incredibly vivid and appealing, especially in the huge version we have. The rhythmic, repetitive text makes it a good bedtime book and a good playtime book, depending how you read it, which, to me, this is key in a good picture book. And 19-month-old Harper is already pointing out the colors and animals as we go. So, yay for literacy purposes. As mentioned above, there is even a tune you can sing the book to, which Harper also finds very amusing, probably because Adam and I are such talented performers. Or because she doesn’t know any better.
I have one quibble with this book, other than the fact that I’ve read it so many times I hear it in my sleep. I know it’s sort of sacrilegious to question the Carle, but here’s the thing – why are all the animals realistic colors except for the wacky purple cat and tripsidasical blue horse? I mean, isn’t that kind of confusing to a baby just learning colors and animals? I love books that encourage creativity and craziness and nonsense, but the uncommented-on combination of real and crazy-pants here seems weird.
But Harper is unconcerned by this. When I asked her what she thought of the book she reported: “Good.“
In conclusion, I think I’d call “I See,” as Harper’s friend Lucy has dubbed it, a must for any kiddo’s library. Which, incidentally, makes it a great gift for a new baby. But I’d be scared to give it as a gift to any kid over the age of say 3 months because I’d assume they either already had it or had somehow absorbed it through some baby collective unconscious deal