It makes sense that Isabel has some hesitation about new habits of reading right now. Reading independently -- or being able to listen to a sibling who can -- is a great thing, but because reading is such an emotionally satisfying activity, a change can be unsettling. At a point when parental attention is newly split three ways, the problem with Eleanor may be that she's just not mom or dad. At different points, Isabel can see learning to read on her own as wonderfully independent, or as not-so-wonderfully reading without parents. Needless to say, this will all shake out. I love that picture of the three of them (upper right).
I had another one of those happy surprises today, opening a box of new books and finding a truly delightful one I'd ordered months ago.
Thank You, Mama by Kate Banks, spectacularly illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska (you wrote about her new-baby book here) epitomizes to me why we don't need the Berenstain Bears. This a book about learning to say thank you. But it's so much more too.
It starts with Alice's mama and papa taking her to the zoo -- on a triple tandem bicycle -- to celebrate her birthday. When she reaches for a proffered balloon, her father prompts her to say, "Thank you, Papa," which she repeats.
"Would you like a birthday hat? said Alice's mama.We then go through a wackily-illustrated series of possible pets. A giraffe is too tall to pet, Alice wonders where an elephant would sleep, and:
"No," said Alice. "I don't want a hat."
"No, thank you," said Alice's mama.
"No, thank you, Mama," said Alice. "I would like a pet."
"What do you say?" she said [looking a bit stern].Alice's facial expressions are constantly changing and endlessly entertaining. Here's her goodnight kiss:
"Thank you, Papa," said the parrot.
"No," said Alice. "Thank you, Alice."
"Thank you, Papa," said the parrot again.
"Thank you, Alice," said the parrot. "Thank you, Alice."The book is offering a lesson, but without a preachy bone in its little body. Banks's rhythm and repetition, combined with the warmth and oddness of Swiatkowska's pictures makes it a delightful read. Thank you, Kate; thank you, Gabi.
And Alice kissed the parrot again.