Sunday, August 29, 2010

Olivia and other children's books

I read this article over at Concordia Sisters. When I first skimmed the article I thought they were bashing Lilly by Kevin Henkes. I printed the article out to read it closely when I had more time. I hate to read articles on the computer screen.
First, I have been exposed to a lot of modern picture books both when I was in college and working in the children's section at the public library and when I taught 1st and 2nd grade. So I was familiar with many of the books mentioned in this article. But I had also never heard of many of the books/authors in this article. It's scary what has been published in the last 7 years.
When I was pregnant with Lamb 1 I purchased Olivia because my midwife practiced in the town of Olivia. Ram's mom also gave us a copy of Olivia. I gave one away and kept one. It went on the shelf until Lamb 1 would be older and I forgot about it. I remember skimming the book when I first bought it and I wasn't too happy that Olivia painted her wall after seeing contemporary art in the museum. I should have given it away just from that.  I already have enough problems with Lambs writing/coloring on walls! After reading this article I pulled my copy out. I agree with the author that Olivia typically ends up with the upper hand with her mom. Ram and I discussed it and decided it was definitely on the give away pile.
I also agree with the author that classics like Curious George and the Frances books by Hoban are so much better. One of my first grade students, his mom wrote me a note that the Frances books were her favorite when she was little. Books that remain classics for parents to enjoy reading with their children are fantastic. I was glad to read that the author of this article thinks that the Lilly books by Kevin Henkes are some of the best contemporary picture books. I love Lilly books and own several of them and even own a little stuffed Lilly and Owen. I read them to my students every year in the classroom. I haven't read them to the Lambs yet, but after reading this article they will be read to them soon!
When Ram and I were discussing this article and Olivia, we also discussed the Llama series by Dewedney. I went back and reread the Concordia Sisters comments on this post and saw that the commenters approve of the Llama series too. I especially like the Llama series because it is age appropriate for all 3 of the Lambs to really "get it".
I'm glad I read this article because in a few weeks we are going shopping at a used bookstore where we have quite a bit of credit. I can try to get rid of my copy of Olivia and stay away from certain authors mentioned in this article and perhaps expand our collection of Hoban books too.

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