The Very Hungry Catepillar

Book Cover: The Very Hungry CatepillarThe Very Hungry Caterpillar
Eric Carle
New York: Scholastic, 1969

Look where playing with a hole puncher will get you! As I was reading up on Eric Carle , I found an article in which he mentioned that the idea for writing this story started with paper and a hole puncher.  I am getting out a hole puncher and some paper tonight!  I don’t think I will come out with a masterpiece of children’s literature (Sigh!).

This is Sarah’s suggestion for Elijah’s Little Library.  I think she liked the line, “But he was still hungry.”  As I read through the book again tonight, I remember how we’d count the holes and repeat, “But he was still hungry.” We did this with great enthusiasm.  We marveled at the fantastic appetite of this small insect.  “Look!” we would say.  “Look, how fat he is!”  We get to the end and wonder at the beautiful butterfly the little caterpillar had become.

These dazzling drawings led us through the life cycle of the butterfly.  I wonder, if Sarah knew she was having a science lesson?

Eric Carle

Eric was born in 1929 in Syracuse, New York.  He moved with his family to Germany when he was six. He always wanted to move back to the United States so in 1952, he arrived in New York.  Did he start illustrating children’s books right away?  No, he worked as a graphic designer for different advertising agencies.  Was The Very Hungry Caterpillar the first children’s book he illustrated?  No, Bill Martin, Jr. saw a something in one of his advertising pictures and asked him to illustrate the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?  Thank you, Bill!

Here’s some articles about this author you might like to read or watch.

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie

Book cover If You Give a Mouse a CookieIf You Give a Mouse A Cookie
Laura Joffe Numeroff
Illustrator: Felicia Bond
New York: Scholastic, 1985

This is Alexis’ early favorite. She thought it was so funny, we giggled right through the entire book.  Who would think giving a mouse a cookie could be such hard work!  The little boy in the book is exhausted by the end of the story.

When I asked my family for suggestions for Elijah’s library, I put them on the spot.  They didn’t have time to examine the reasons behind their selections. I think they came from memory and connection to feelings. This evening, Alexis was standing beside me rereading her book as I wrote.  She commented, “I love this book!”  I asked her why.  She loves it for the reason most of us do, because one thing leads to another thing in an unexpected, silly string.

After you finish giving a mouse a cookie, you can give a moose a muffin, a pig a pancake and other fun feedings. If you have a young person, who enjoys a silly story, read one of these together.

Laura Joffe Numeroff

It says a lot about a person when their three favorite possession growing up were a microscope, a 64 count box of crayons and a library card.  As a young person, Laura loved to read, write, sing, dance, science, and stamp collecting.  She illustrated her own stories and made books covers for them.

She thought to follow her sister’s example and go into design, but found it wasn’t really her calling. Nearing the end of her college career, she took a course on “Writing & Illustrating Children’s Books”1.  She wrote and illustrated a book and fell in love with writing all over again. Thank goodness!

Take a look at these great interviews with and stories about Ms. Numeroff.

1http://www.kidsreads.com/authors/laura-numeroff

Felicia Bond

Felicia knew at age five that art was her calling when “…she observed a beam of light coming in her bedroom window.”² She was influenced by Ludwig Bemelmans (Madeleine), Garth Williams (Stuart Little) and Charles Schulz (Peanuts). If You Give a Mouse a Cookie was her first collaboration with Laura Numeroff and look where it has taken them!

She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin!  Who knew?  She now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  She likes to discretely work the names of her family and pets into her illustrations. Can you find them in her books?

Here are some excellent articles about Felicia.

²http://feliciabond.brandyourself.com/

And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None
Agatha Christie
New York: HarperCollins, 2011

This was the second book selected for Elijah’s library.  Remember I asked family members for two selections. When I asked Jim for his upper elementary/middle school favorite, he thought he was in his “mystery phase.” He contributed this title. In our house, I think all of us have gone through our “mystery phase,” some of us more than once.

This particular book doesn’t feature one of her famous sleuths. I tried to discover  Jim’s favorite, he doesn’t have one.  I, on the other hand, do.  Hands down it is Miss Jane Marple.  What a sharp mind, behind the mild exterior.  Would that my mind would be that sharp at any age!

Jim remembers visiting that magical place, the public library and checking it and others out. He and his Mom went frequently. At our house, we all have enjoyed her novels. We don’t possess an extensive collection as we took full advantage of what the library had to offer.

In his little book about his library, I reminded Elijah to ask his Mama to take him to the library. What a place for wondering!

My advice go to the library or the book store and find a Christie novel to read!

About the author

Often referred to as the “Queen of Crime”, Agatha was born in 1890.  She was home-schooled by her mother, who thought she shouldn’t learn to read until she was nine.  Agatha, the only child at home, grew bored, took the reins into her own hands and learned to read at age five.

Just prior to World War I, she married Archibald Christie a Royal Flying Corp member.  While married to Archie, she began her writing career.  In 1920, she published The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which introduced the world to one of her two most famous detectives, Hercule Poirot.

In 1926, when Archie asked for a divorce, Agatha created a mystery of her own by disappearing for 10 days.  She was located in a Harrogate hotel under the name of his mistress.  She never spoke of these 10 days.

Miss Marple’s, Chrisitie’s other pre-eminent detective, first novel was Murder at the Vicarage in 1930.  One of my favorite sleuthing couples,  Tommy & Tuppence Beresford appeared on the scene in 1921 in The Secret Adversary. According to the website Agatha.chrisitie.com, Tommy & Tuppence’s stories are the ones she most enjoyed writing.

Sources

The Little Engine That Could

The LittleBook cover for Little Engine that could Engine That Could
Retold by Watty Piper
New York: Platt & Munk, Publishers, 1930

This is Jim’s contribution to Elijah’s Little Library.  Spoiler Alert!  If you think you might be receiving a baby shower gift from House Reimund this book will be included.  It is our favorite book to give as a baby gift.

How can you not love a book that starts out with such great sounds?  “Chug, chug, chug.  Puff, puff, puff.  Ding-dong, ding-dong.” It’s almost musical.  This little engine is a trooper.  An example of positive thinking!

I liked reading this book to our girls.  I had the Big Important Engine’s bellow, the Shiny New Engine’s arrogant voice, and the Rusty Old Freight Engine’s tired voice.  My favorite, of course, was the very little engine’s voice.  I loved doing its voice with the engine rhythm, “I think I can-I think I can…”.  Slow at first and then faster and faster.  It is a great book to read aloud.

 

With a Good Book

Why start this blog?  I do believe that with a good book you are never alone and always have something to do.  If that were my only reason, this would be a very short blog.

My niece, Gigi, although she doesn’t know it, started me down this path.  She is having a baby and I was invited to her baby shower.  I looked over her baby registry and all those items looked boring!  So I decided to do what I always do buy a book.  After all, I think I am her “Crazy Aunt Robin” who always gives books for gifts.

I asked my family for two books suggestions: a book they liked when they were very young and a book they liked when they were in middle school.  Armed with their suggestions I went to the bookstore.  I went with no adult supervision to buy her a few books for her gift.

After an hour or so, my husband called and told me to limit my purchases to 10 books.  Too late!  I was on my way home with over 20.  I had such a good time picking them out for her and her son, Elijah!  When I arrived home and looked at the array of books, I was stunned! How was I going to tell her about all these great books and what they meant to us? At a shower I would have 5 minutes to tell her about each and every precious book I selected.  If I had the time to tell her about each one, she would never remember what to tell Elijah about them.  Also, what was I going to call this seemingly random assortment of books. Solution! I decided that Elijah was receiving a “Little Library” and I wrote him a little book about all the books.

I did have the opportunity to talk it through with my niece.  She laughed and shook her head.  Her husband, Jacob said they needed a bigger bookshelf.  I said it was a good idea to plan ahead.  Elijah will always need more books.

I had so much joy in preparing Elijah’s book about the books he was receiving!  While I was writing it, my family told me that I need to write a blog about children’s books.  They think I know something about them.  Aren’t they wonderful!

After some consideration, I thought I would.  Ergo you have my random ramblings about books.  I try never to be without a good book.  With a good book, I am never alone, I always have something to do, I can go anywhere and I can do anything!