Helen Oxenbury (of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt fame) is an expert on babies and books. In an interview about the importance of stories for young children, Oxenbury states, “It would be silly to do a board book with atmosphere and landscapes for a very, very tiny child who has no experience of that. All babies know what happens in their home with their mom and dad.”
I’ve been quite overzealous to expose Stella to stories that are way too complex for her developing mind. Honestly, these reading times have probably been more for me than for her. So, in remembering Oxenbury’s words, I’ve tried to be much more deliberate recently about sharing stories with my Bucca that correlate with her everyday sights and experiences.
We are a cat family, with two furry pals at home. Stella and the cats have become fast friends and she is now trying to say “cat” here and there. So…as I looked through the children’s section at the library last week, I discovered How To Be A Cat by Nikki McClure. The illustrations are in black and white (with occasional pops of blue) which really grabs my Bucca’s attention. Each page features a single word and illustrates the cats performing the corresponding feat; they explore, stretch, hunt and scratch (among other things).
This is not a board book, but Stella has not yet tried to grab at the pages. She is becoming more and more content looking at the illustrations and listening to my voice as I repeat the text. Most of the time, at least one of our cats will join us in the chair to read. This provides a great opportunity to show Stella one of her life experiences on the pages of a beautiful book.
There are so many more connections we can make, and I’m excited to explore more books that will highlight the things she sees each day. Have you made these everyday connections in children’s books? Please share below!
Lindsay (and Bucca)
Oxenbury Quote From:Ways of Telling: Conversations on the Art of the Picture Book, by Leonard S. Marcus.