Welcome to my new post series!
Each month, I’ll be sharing with you the books that me and my mini-mes are enjoying together. I’m doing this not because I think I am some sort of authority on kids’ books, but because:
- I like sharing the little things that make me and the kids happy
- I want to try and avoid story ruts. Sometimes, after a long day, it’s ME that’s all too quick to grab the ‘usual’ bedtime story, NOT the kids begging for their favourite. I want to keep it fresh and mix it up, for their sake and mine. Writing these posts (I hope) will motivate me to stay rut-free
- I’m also hoping people will share their favourites with me too. Recommendations from all corners of the globe please!
In Barnes & Noble last month, I thought I would try and strengthen our new American roots, so asked the assistant to show me some ‘classic American kids poetry’. She told me that Shel Silverstein was kind of a big deal in the US, (I’d honestly never heard of him in England) so I got introduced to the famous ‘The Giraffe and a Half,’ originally published in 1964.
While I got this book for Maia, both kids have been enjoying it. Bonus. Obviously, I like to think it’s the way I tell ‘em, (*dusts off shoulders*) but this really is a fun rhyme to read! Our particular hardback edition is 46 pages long, packed with large illustrations. Some pages are very short and some are just all sketches, so it’s not a particularly long one.
It starts off simple with a giraffe and a little kid. Different things keep happening to the giraffe on each page, so the poem builds and builds, repeating each different scenario along the way, until you are left pretty much breathless towards the middle of the poem when the giraffe chaos hits its peak. Then the poem starts to ‘deconstruct’ and all the things that happened to the giraffe, start to be resolved or removed….leaving you back where you started. With just a giraffe and a kid. Clever.
The language used is so simple yet effective due to the strong rhythm and a huge injection of silliness. After a few reads, the rhyming repetition really sinks in and the little ones will be joining you as you roll off a laundry list of giraffe problems. It’s great for testing their memory! Think along the lines of ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas…’
Overall, we are really big fans of our newly discovered ‘American Classic’ – we would definitely recommend it! The illustrations bring the fun to life and capture the humourous plot chaos. We will be trying out a few more Shel stories,…well, except for ‘The Giving Tree.’ I gave that a quick read in the store. It might be very famous over here, but I found the little boy-turned- man, who stripped a tree bare and still wanted more, just vile – a real little s&*t! I left that one on the shelf. Sorry America.