In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two small girls and a baby boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Migrating in style

Dear Annie,

Ah, bedtime reading.  Such a lovely time.  Such a challenge to exhausted parents. We had the luxury of two parents at home at most bedtimes, so we would alternate which parent put which child to bed each night.  Before the days of chapter books, the deal was two picture books, then bed.  That of course led to lots of negotiation.  A reading of Grumpy Bird is considerably shorter than, say, A Baby Sister for Frances.  And two Frances-length books could put off sleep for quite a while.  Once the girls were in chapter book mode, each would have her own bedtime-specific book.  Because we stuck to the policy of parental units alternating nights, each of us would end up reading every other chapter of a lot of books.  Part of our post-child-bedtime conversation would involve briefing each other on what happened in books we were particularly fond of.  What I remember about single-parent nights was starting in Mona's room (she being a year and a half younger) and reading to both of them, then tucking Mona in and continuing upstairs to Lizzie's room.  Definitely harder.

Our box of birthday books left Washington today, heading to you in time for Isabel's birthday.  There are books for both of your girls, of course.  And because today is the first day of fall, I'm going to give you a preview of one of them.  It's
A Flock of Shoes
, by Sarah Tsiang, from the same Canadian publisher that brought us The Paper Bag Princess

Abby has wonderful pink and brown flip-flops with lime green trim which she wears very happily all summer long.  As cooler weather approaches, Abby refuses to relinquish them, just adding socks to keep warm.  But one day, as she's swinging high, first one sandal falls off, then the other:

They join a V-formation of summer shoes flying south.  Abby's mom gives her cool boots, but she's slow to bond with them, instead thinking of what her sandals are doing.  There's a postcard with a picture of the flip-flops in beach chairs on the sand: "Thought about your heels today.  We miss you to the bottom of our soles."  Abby finally becomes fond of the boots, but when warm weather comes, they stomp off to a northbound train, just as the sandal population is winging its way north.  Her pair finds her: "They were rested and fat, grown just wide enough for Abby's feet."

I love this book.  Have sent it to both of my daughters in college, and am going to make it the centerpiece of my fall books display.  Hey, leaves can fall any year -- but how often do shoes migrate?

Love,

Deborah

1 comment:

  1. My girls are always a little sad when summer is over and they can no longer wear their sandals - suddenly their toes are closed in and no longer as carefree as they've been over the summer months. (But I'm grateful for not having to stop every few hundred meters to take pebbles/twigs out of sandals!)

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