Thursday, January 31, 2008
"In the great green room there was a telephone and a red balloon and a picture of..." If you know that it's a picture of the cow jumping over the moon, you probably have had a toddler in your life (if not, that's the start of Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown).
How many board books do you have memorized?
I think I've got a dozen or so, but, near the top of the list with every child has always been Freight Train by Donald Crewes. It's a great book about a, well, freight train that teaches colors, train terms, and the excitement of travel.
Way back with Mxyl we cut out the cars from construction paper and laminated them: "Red caboose at the back, orange tank car next, yellow hopper car [Choclo calls it a yellow hopping car], green cattle car, blue gondola car, purple box car, a black tender and a black steam engine. Freight train." Crewe's illustrations are simple, elegant, and iconic. Those trains have long departed, so we cut out new ones this week, laminated them, scotch taper the backs and laid an electrical tape track.
Now Choclo spends time each day putting up and taking down the train cars, telling himself the story, shabby book (this is our second copy) firmly tucked under his arm. Then he sits down on my lap and we read it together. It's nice. I don't need to look at the book; instead I get to watch the side of his face curving in angles of delight.
With Mxyl, it seemed as if he would want this story forever, but 10 years later I see: board book time is like Donald Crewe's freight train: "going, going . . . gone."
(If you are wondering how much time Choclo spends with his face covered with chocolate, the answer is: A. Lot.)