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, April 13, 2011

Each Peach ... Peek-a-boo!

Dear Annie,

Ah, the Stupids.  Ah, George and Martha.  James Marshall is so likable, and so wacky.  And such a writer.  In addition to the many reasons many of us love him, our family was thrilled to discover he wrote a book about a moose named Mona.  Not many Monas in literature, so we tend to get kind of excited when there's a great one.  I'll dig it up and write more on it soon.

Speaking of classics, I'm surprised to discover that we've been blogging for almost a year but somehow haven't hit two great books by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. 

Each Peach Pear Plum
and
Peek-a-boo!


These are such great snuggle-with-a-toddler books.  They're sophisticated I-Spy books in very British settings with great rhymes.

Each Peach Pear Plum refers to a different nursery rhyme or story on every page.  It starts, "Each Peach Pear Plum/I spy Tom Thumb." Hidden behind leaves and peaches in an orchard we can just make out a blond boy reading a book.  Next page: "Tom Thumb in the cupboard/I spy Mother Hubbard":
 Then: "Mother Hubbard down the cellar/ I spy Cinderella":
It goes on like this through the three bears, Jack and Jill, Little Bo-Peep and many more.  The three bears even make an encore appearance.  Lots to look at, lots to listen to.  I was always fascinated by the title page illustration of hilly countryside.  Every scene in the book takes place somewhere in that picture, and if you look closely at almost every illustration, you can see how Janet Ahlberg, the artist, has kept everything in the right spatial relationship to everything else.  Very cool.

Peek-a-boo! Is a series of wonderfully cluttered scenes of a British family which appear to be set in the World War II era -- at least that's how I've always seen them.  The book starts with a baby standing in his crib on the left side page, looking across at a hole cut through the right side, with PEEK-A-BOO! and a glimpse of the following page.  You turn the page and get a listing of what he sees, starting with his parents still asleep as the sun comes in the window.  I love the pictures drawn entirely from the baby's perspective.  This one starts, "Here's a little baby/One, two, three/Sits on his sister's lap/What does he see?"  Turn the page (and imagine these two side-by-side):
I think I have a soft spot in my heart for books that celebrate the exhausted mother.   And chaos!  Love that dog.

Love,

Deborah

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading Each Peach Pear Plum to my toddlers because it gave there was so much to look at in the pictures that it gave their exhausted mother more of a chance to rest!
    (And I loved the pictures too).

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