Published Art Admiration, or I Check Out Children’s Books For Myself
We check out library books on a regular basis. Coming from the heart that has created a home with something to read in every room, even the bathrooms, this is understandable. Most of our library books are children’s books; the heart and the head of this home have a son who loves books just as much as they do. Naturally.
I’ve gotten to the point where I know what kinds of books Toby prefers–mostly pictures with a sentence or two of text on each page, except for the Berenstains and Dr. Seuss. He likes to hear my voice as we look at books, so even if we get a book with no words in it, he still wants a narration coming from me, which I will happily provide.
I’ve discovered some children’s books that have too much detail and too much abstraction to them to give an interesting narration. Toby just doesn’t enjoy them yet because they don’t have characters with voices or the story doesn’t roll quickly enough.
I push his limits just as he (already) pushes mine. I pick out a book that appeals to me, a children’s book that is more art than quick narration, a book full of details that need to be examined to understand.
Stuff like David Weisner’s books. Right now, I’ve got his Free Fall sitting on the floor next to my chaise, just waiting to be studied again; it was derived from a nine-foot-long painting he’d created earlier, Escher-esque in flow. Some of his books don”t have words that go along with the pictures. Toby hates that I can’t give the book a voice over his shoulder. So I stare at it while he sleeps.
The next library trip, it’ll be Stephen Kellogg and Trinka Noble’s Jimmy’s Boa books. The narration is simple and just the right length for Toby, so maybe he’ll like it. If not, there’s so much detail there that it makes some women in the library glare at me, startled.
I sat on the floor today next to Toby as he deconstructed the Lego table and re-discovered these books from my childhood. There were other women there with their kids, and I kept an eye the activity around me as I looked at these books on the shelf next to me. I laughed out loud at the illustrations.
My laugh is free and it takes on different sounds, depending on what I’m laughing about. At this moment, I laughed with a few loud bursts of hearty amusement, and the sudden sound, different from the constant lull of noise that comes from children all in one room, made several women around me jump.
Still, those books beg to be studied thoroughly, savored like the art that they are. And they probably won’t be sitting on the toy chest, with all the rest of the children’s books, because for a few weeks, they’ll only satisfy my inner child.