Monday, May 12th, 2008
Review: Loving and Creepy Children’s Books that are Really for Parents
My in-laws introduced us to our second not-really-for-children children’s book this past weekend. I refer to sugary and sentimental picture books about parenting that capture the moment you look into your child’s eyes and at once see your parents cradling you in their arms and your grown child cradling your grandchild.
Someday written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds follows the path of a mother who expresses her love for her daughter and envisions her daughter’s experiences as they both grow older. Simply and perfectly illustrated, the mother begins with present tense statements and proceeds into wistful "Someday…" dreams.
- "One day I counted your fingers and kissed each one."
- "Sometimes, when you sleep, I watch you dream, and I dream too…"
- "Someday you will look at this house and wonder how something that feels so big can look so small." (leaving for college)
- "Someday I will watch you brushing your child’s hair."
- "Someday, a long time from now, your own hair will glow silver in the sun. And when that day comes, you will remember me."
It’s an endearing little book for anyone who, upon having a child, has contemplated life 30, 40 or 50 years from now and comes to see their own certain demise as a joyful thing, as a part of the cycle of life.
Another popular and infinitely more creepy book is Love You Forever, written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Sheila McGraw. We own three gifted copies. This book is told in traditional story format following a mother raising her son.
On the first page you read:
"A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth. And while she held him, she sang:
I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be."
Through toddlerhood she cradles him in her arms and sings the song. In his teen years she peeks in while he’s sleeping and sings the song. When he grows up and moves across town, his mother drives across town, cradles him in her lap and sings the song. No joking.
Then when she’s near death, her son cradles her and sings the song. Finally, he has a son of his own and the cycle begins anew.
The publisher states the story is about "how that little boy goes through the stages of childhood and becomes a man," and also about "the enduring nature of parents’ love and how it crosses generations."
Okay, but if he really became a mature adult, why is his 70ish-year-old mother driving across town and sneaking into his room to rock him back and forth in her arms while he sleeps? Ugh.
If you’re curious about how to sing the song, listen to the author reciting the story. What am I missing? Why is this story so popular? Do you own any other children’s books that are intended for adults?