Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring Cleaning

Bunny Days
by: Tao Nyeu
Dial Books

Bunny Days will surprise you.  The cover resembles a suitable baby shower book: with bunnies, birdies, bears and child-friendly colors like powder blue and sherbet orange.  And while it is a sweet book for children, about a group of bunnies that keep getting in the way of Mr. and Mrs. Goat as they go about their chores, it also contains fresh humor - that I almost missed upon the first reading.

When my mom first started reading it, she said: "I don't think it's a good message to put bunnies in the washing machine, or for their tails to be chopped off with yard clippers."  I had a similar first reaction when I opened the book and saw bunnies hanging on a laundry line... but I've since realized that children have stuffed animals, that go through similar trials to the bunnies in the book: getting dirty and having to be washed in the washing machine or having a leg or other part that needs to be sewn back on.

We're used to stories like Corduroy or Velveteen Rabbit where the author differentiates the stuffed animals from the other characters.  Author Nyeu creates a world of stuffed animals without seams, which is perhaps how children view their favorite stuffed companions.

The events are simple for a toddler to follow, and make Anderson giggle every time- me too.  Like most stories, it's not the 'what' it's about, but 'how' the story is told.  The cheerful illustrations will put a smile on your face.

I like that even though bunnies get dirty or hurt, with a little care and attention, everything is put back to rights.  Click here to view the website and more stories from Tao Nyeu.

Small Pig
Arnold Lobel
Harper Collins

You might remember the Frog and Toad  book series?  I haven't revisited those yet with Anderson, but we did find Small Pig, which is a goodie that I somehow missed as a child.

Pig lives on a farm, and likes mud.  Nothing earth shattering here.  But one day, the farmer's wife takes to a cleaning frenzy and vacuums up his mud.  The pig sets out to find a new home, and a tale of his adventures ensues.  Anderson loves to hear about the swamp the pig comes upon, with frogs and snakes, as well as the junk yard.  Find out what happens when he plunks down in wet cement on a busy city sidewalk!

I like a good message, and there are plenty of subtle ones in this book: a dirty pig is better than no pig, sometimes compassion trumps practicality, and the grass isn't always greener.