The Read Balloon: A Glorious Day

great kids' booksI’m officially behind on everything: this blog, every blog, to-do lists, returning phone calls, social interactions, personal hygiene. And this is in part because of a very wonderful, thrilling new stress: we are moving! Yes, after looking on and off for two years or something like that we have found an apartment and then we bought it and now we have to do something about getting ourselves in there. Hold on, you say. That’s nice, but isn’t this a Read Balloon post about books somehow? Stay with me here, yes, I’m getting to it.

So the place we are moving into is a big ole 1950′s co-op building with 55 units and some exciting features: elevator, laundry, and tons of kids. We’ve already been to a birthday party there — there are 10 kids under the age of 3 — and were regaled with tales of intra-building playdates on cold winter days, chase games in the corridors, laundry room toddler jamborees, and holiday parades in the lobby. We’re so excited!! It is going to be our favorite and our best!

All of this is relevant because the book Harper and I have been obsessed with lately is Amy Schwartz‘s excellent A Glorious Day. It’s one of those sweetly uneventful books (a friend who was roped into reading it 9 times in a row to Harper was like, “What is up with that book anyway?”) that really appeals to small children. Harper loves to read and reread details like what kids have for breakfast, or how they prepare for bed — after all, these are the main events of her life too.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The book is basically an ode to Brooklyn family life, and this (along with the wonderful illustrations) is why I’m okay with reading it 7,000 times a day. 10 kids (am I counting right?) live in a little 4-unit apartment building, and the book is concerned with all these kids — the baby, the little kids, the big kids — spend their day. They play in their small apartments, they meet up in the stairwells and on the stoop, they stroll down the block to the playground. They flow in and out of each others’ lives organically — hearing each other in the bath at bathtime, helping each other locate lost pets, seeing one another at the store on on the street. With all the aspects of city life that seems so unwholesome for growing children, I love a good reminder of what’s so wonderful about it — the built-in community, the sights and sounds, the constant stream of interesting stimuli.

Plus, Schwartz’s illustrations are so lovable. We’ve already packed the scanner or I would share my favorite page, which features the bedtime arrangements of all the kids in the buildings and all the various shared bedrooms (another newfound interest of mine) — the bunkbeds next to the crib, the twin beds lined up Madeline-style. I’m so glad we stumbled upon this book, which came to us at just the right time, as all good books do.

Now let’s hope I can somehow return it to the library on time. This move has me psychotically scattered, but that’s another post. A post I will never have time to write.

A Glorious Day by Amy Schwartz

A Glorious Day by Amy Schwartz. Warning: This subversive text features children jumping on sofas and eating potato chips for breakfast. Just so you're prepared.

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