Tag Archives: Gyo Fujikawa

The Dance of the Sugar-Crazed Fairy

gyo fujikawa

Image from Gyo Fujikawa's Night Before Christmas

I’m so behind on my to-do list these days that I’m starting to get out-of-season — I have potentially great blog posts that have remained entirely in my head and soon will be putridly out of date, like a Shamrock Shake you find in your fridge mid-June, unspeakably furzed. All these cute seasonal things have been happening — an attempt at candy cane playdough in little babyfood jars as presents to Harper’s classmates (it looked really cute but ours was a weird gelatinous mush the next day and I fear everyone else’s was too — I bet that never happens to The Artful Parent lady!), a day devoted to making salt dough ornaments, which were a big hit with Harper and infected our apartment with a plague of glitter.

And, also, I took Harper to see The Nutcracker, an outing I’ve been looking forward to since Harper was the gestational age of approximately 20 weeks. We went with a local, kid-friendly version — Lincoln Center is for the reliably potty-trained, I think — at Brooklyn College. The good people at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts have put together a sweet, family-friendly version, including a voice over explaining the trippy things occurring on the stage. That said, the thing is still 2 hours long and, as I’d forgotten in the 25-odd years since I last saw The Nutcracker, kind of creepy.

Also, taking a two-year-old to the ballet is akin to walking a bull with a time bomb strapped to it through a crystal palace. The best part was just before the curtain went up, when Harper was perched on the edge of her chair, her hands clasped, saying, “Oh, I’m just so essited for the ballerinas!” I almost floated our of my $7 seat, I was so charmed by her essitement. As soon as they dimmed the lights, however, she started saying she wanted to go home. I spent the next half-hour or so whispering answers to her many questions as quietly as possible and bribing her with M&Ms.

At one point she announced she was going home and took off, so I slunk after her, inwardly pouting about missing the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. In the lobby, Harper stopped to stare at a ballerina on a television screen before saying, “I want to see that!” “That’s what’s going on inside the theater,” I said in a very nice and not at all annoyed voice. “Let’s go!” she said brightly, bounding back towards our seats.

By the last third or so of the ballet,  though, I did one of those Parenty Things you think you’ll never do and truly don’t understand until it happens to you — that is, I realized it would be easier to get out of the parking lot if we left before the show ended. Away we went. In the car Harper sighed dreamily. “Did you like it?” I asked her. “I did,” she said, “I really liked those M&Ms.”

All in all, a cultural triumph.

Now there are presents to be wrapped, and tomorrow, cookies to be made. (Harper was very concerned that Santa would eat her Hanukkah cookies, so we decided to make some just for him.)  There will be a walk in the park, since global warming’s fucking with our sledding tradition, and then a delicious Christmas meal (delivered by Fresh Direct, of course), and then I am staying up to catch Santa.  Dear blog people, happy holiday of choice, and to all, a good night.

(PS Check out my post on creating holiday memories over at the Redbook Motherboard blog!)

gyo fujikawa night before christmas

Images from Gyo Fujikawa's The Night Before Christmas

The Read Balloon: Oh What a Busy Day, by Gyo Fujikawa

great kids' booksI’ve written about Gyo Fujikawa here before, but by gum, I’m doing it again. We have “Oh What a Busy Day” out from the library right now, and Harper and I have been poring over the amazing illustrations. This book just makes me happy. I remember almost every single image from reading it as a child. I remember which images delighted me, confused me, fascinated me. I loved the page of kids pretending to be a peacock, a dinosaur, a sandwich. I loved the feeling I got from the illustration of a girl in cozy little wooded hiding place. The world of this book is a wonderful one — no grownups  anywhere, just kids playing, playing, playing. The words in this book, I’ll be honest, are completely besides the point, and not all that exciting. The text is just an excuse for the pictures, the literary equivalent of a toddler’s chicken finger aka ketchup-delivery-device. But the ketchup! I mean, the pictures!

gyo fujikawa oh what a busy daygyo fujikawa oh what a busy daygyo fujikawa oh what a busy daygyo fujikawa oh what a busy daygyo fujikawa oh what a busy dayTo tell you the truth, this book is not really Harper’s favorite right now. Her real favorite is a chirpy Yo Gabba Gabba product that I find interminable and keep trying to hide. Ugh! I know they can’t help it, but sometimes I hate that the library has so very many corny tv show spinoff books. I mean, we go there to be booky, and we’re bombarded by screaming computer games and printed advertisements for television. I guess the upside is that Harper doesn’t yet know to beg for the animated equivalents of these usually terrible books. After all, the Charlie and Lola series — still a beloved favorite around here — is just such a product, not that she knows this; for now, it’s a world that’s still hers to imagine. And the Yo Gabba Gabba book she’s so into is, in the end, about using your imagination, and she LOVES it, so what’s the big deal?

All I know is, I’d rather spend time playing pretend with Gyo Fujikawa’s sweet-faced kids than the Gabba monsters. Wait, does that make me a racist? A monsterist? Or just a sort of picture book Andy Rooney?

Ehhhh books today! If anyone needs me, I’ll be daydreaming in my burrow.