There are few things that make us happier around here than a new stack of library books, all fresh and unread and fragrant of plastic covers and other kids’ boogers. But I have to admit, we have checked out some real losers. Once, sure, I used to look up books ahead of time, read children’s book bloggers’ recommendations, put appropriate reading material on hold, or at least pre-screen at the library. But these days every trip to our local branch is a hectic dash involving Ollie making avalanches of board books before toddling over to the evil bank of computers where inevitably some big kids are playing video games while Harper finds every single book she can find about ballerinas, and I frantically try to grab something that looks interesting, and we end up with books that mention terrible things like death and sibling rivalry.
Still, there is nothing like the joy of finding a great book completely by accident. The other day Harper was sifting through our newest haul and came running. “Mama! It’s one of those make-up-a-story books!” She LOVES make-up-a-story books. You know, those great wordless picture books that allow a child to invent her own story, by which I mean tyrannize her parents into telling stories until their tongues turn to wood. These books are so fun; they allow Harper’s crazy imagination to run wild; I especially love them for their “Here, entertain yourself while I change this horrifying diaper” properties. Our most recent and thrilling finds were The Red Book and The Secret Box by Barbara Lehman — both amazing, evocative, and with that quality of adventure I want my kids’ childhood to have but maybe without the wandering down sewer pipes kind of thing. Still, lovely and surreal and mind-bending — like Haruki Murakami for toddlers.
We’ve also loved The Adventures of Polo, by Regis Faller, The Wonder Bear, by Tao Nyeu, A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog, by Mercer Mayer. That last one is totally a lie, actually — I loved it but Harper was not that into it. But you get what I’m saying. Wordless picture books. Good stuff.
Any others we should check out? Maybe I’ll even actually reserve them at the library like some sort of thinking, planning fancy pants person.