Part of what I love about being a parent, besides the obvious glamour, glory, and sleep deprivation, are the weird subterranean dives into your childhood that you take at the least likely moments. For example:
Lately we’ve been fielding a lot of requests for “ten babies,” otherwise known as Gyo Fujikawa’s Ten Little Babies, and we are always happy to oblige — it’s one of those rare books that the whole family loves. The retro-y illustrations are adorable, populated by a jolly crew of ethnically diverse little cherubs wearing, incidentally, very cute outfits; the numbering is graphically appealing; the rhythmic text can go playful or soothing; in other words, it has everything a good picture book needs. Okay, there are some slightly scary moments. (Um, Number 4: “Four frisky babies playing in a tree, CRACK went a branch, and then there three. ” What the! The baby FELL out of the TREE? Did it SURVIVE? I mean, my word.) And the ending is sort of bittersweet. All in all, major winner. Harper loves it and we love it. Beautiful.
So, in looking up Gyo Fujikawa I came across one of her other books, Oh What a Busy Day!, which I must have had as a child. Immediately upon seeing the cover, I was flooded with very strong, pleasant memories of long hours (okay, I must have been really little, so probably actually just long minutes, but you know how intently kids look at things) spent poring over the illustrations. I mean, I knew that the pink-cheeked little kiddos in Ten Little Babies appealed to me in some vaguely nostalgic way, but I didn’t realize I’d rediscovered an author/illustrator I loved as a child until just now. (I also just learned that she, like Mary Blair, worked for Disney — go figure.)
So I don’t know about you, but I’m about to busy myself ordering tons of Gyo Fujikawa books, a convenient way to both spend money and acquire more large, heavy physical possessions, just in time for Christmas present season!