26 April 2013

What little boys are made of: Book ideas for wee ones

Dune Girl spends an inordinate amount of time reading not only to herself (happy to report, no longer out loud) but to little Dune Son.  In recent months, a few choice books have been introduced into our abode and are in obsessive circulation.  If you happen to have a wee one at home who is fixated on dragons, beasties and/or things with large teeth, these books are a must for you or whichever family you choose to book dive bomb.  How sweet would that be? A world at which dive bombings were book-related events instigated anonymously by literate benefactors.  

When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore, illustrated by Howard McWilliam is the cautionary tale of what happens if you build a sandcastle.  Spoiler Alert:   What happens basically is a dragon will move in.  Holy shit balls,  I know and do not despair, I am researching the fastest means that sand can be ordered to all our yards, information to follow shortly.  

The story encapsulates the joys and subsequent hardships of childhood beach adventures.  That world of sneaking snacks from the cooler, fighting with your brother, all while listening to the crash of the ocean waves and gulls flying by trying to both poop on your head and steal your hot dog is brought to life  From my son's perspective I can only imagine what is swirling around in his brain.   Being three,  this book is most likely a true representation, more documentary than fantastical to him.  Dragons, after all are real, T-Rex's are a little guy's best friend and yeti's  make perfect cuddle buddies.  

As with all great children's books the illustrations illuminate the text adding depth to this very succinct little story.   The pictures are the bomb.  DS  and I  spend more time pouring over them, trying to find the blue dragon  than reading the story.  For your information, the blue dragon is in the half built castle off centre in the above picture.  She is hard to find, but trust us on this, she is in there making cookies and scheming.

Any book that has a random Norwegian dinosaur wandering it's pages, is a book for me. The hilarious, dripping sarcasm in Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems is lost on my son but not all children's books are for the kids.   Parents read an insane amount of crap every day to appease the little control freaks in our lives.  ("OK, I will read Shark and Sharky Shark Shark for the 20th TIME THIS HOUR!")   As a result, as a parent you need to break up the garbage with some witty, child-friendly dialogue that is intelligent enough to keep from slipping into a reading coma.  

Thankfully, most of the sentences that burn into my soul involve poorly executed pirate/dino/lion related story-lines.   I dodged the "barbie/pony/glitter/I'm a girl and love pink and strive to be perfect in every way by being pretty" bullet.   To be fair, if my son wanted to read pink-inspired books I would read it.  I would, you know why, because I am mother, and that is what mothers do.  (okay, maybe we do more but it is one of the things we do.  I want a really big sparkly diamond shaped, diamond for mother's day)   It is not like we forced him down this creature-related obsession, he really, truly, all by his weird little own self, decided that dinosaurs were his thing.   So, while my world is filled with SF/Fantasy related children's paraphernalia, I am positive that if Mattel came out with a Vampire Barbie, dripping with blood and HUGE fangs, my son would want one.  And  I would buy it for him. Vampire Barbie,  you are damn right we would buy that, actually I would get one for us all.

And back to the book, shall we.  I do like tirades, they are so unproductively therapeutic.  Goldilocks, and the Three Bears is unhinged, re-framed and fabulously, superimposed with dinosaurs. Goldilocks is revealed as  a hapless moron who does not listen to her mommy and daddy.  She continues to break into large, imposing stranger's homes and then run amok.   Frankly, she deserves all she gets.    You see a large bowl of chocolate pudding laid out, doesn't mean it is for you and if it is for you, you should probably ask who wants me to taste like chocolate....not those dinosaurs, nope, no way.  I am surprised she hasn't been eaten years ago.

To all of you without kids, doesn't mean you can't pick these two bad boys up.  We all pour over the little images and maps that accompany our favourite SF books, don't lie, I know you do.  Pictures make things better.   Time to go back to  kindergarten and enjoy yourself.  

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