Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Chicken Soup with Rice (and Other Great Kid Literature)

It's nearly midnight and we literally leave Illinois in our packed car for our new home in Reno in like 30 hours. And somehow there are two more sleeps in there and a movie trip with the kids and dinner with friends and many hours spent at the pool for the last time.

But all I can think about is this book. As I pack away boxes, I recite the words in my head and can't let them go. ...Sipping once, sipping twice, sipping chicken soup with rice... I first heard it in a Kindergarten classroom here in Illinois and thought it was totally weird. I didn't know what to think of it. But then, I slowly developed a love affair with it.

It made me wonder what other people's stories are related to this book. What an obscure book (like many of Maurice Sendak's books). He's mostly known for Where the Wild Things Are, but I think some of his other works are largely underrepresented.

The kids love this one though. Benjamin asked me to take a picture as I dropped it in the library return box today so we would remember to find it at our new library (but I'll probably just buy a copy). A little bit egocentric because he deems February to be his page and Claire is fairly fond of January, but also adorable because their family members also share their pages and own their own months. Aunt Mansa is not forgotten on the January ownership. "Oh, Mommy, this is your month!"

If you have a chance, rent that one and Pierre from your local library. And then come back and tell me what you think. Pierre is troubling and possibly disturbing to some kids (spoiler alert: lion eats disobedient child!), and also awesome if you have a little mischief in your midst (ehm, Benjamin). I'm still out with the jury whether I think it brings to light poor behavior or if a lion eating a child is enough to scare the wits out of the kid to never act out again, but it's decent coffee table convo to say the least. Maybe a juvenile high school Sophomore essay prompt? As it turns out, they have a mini anthology of these Maurice Sendak short stories all in one book. I think that's my hot ticket and now in my Amazon cart.

And if you want your kids to start using please a little more often in speech, I totally recommend Please, Mr. Panda. It's a simple and sort of obvious book that has caught on like wildfire with my kids. Needless to say, we've found an alternate way (referencing literature) to get them to "say the magic word" that has me singing its praises.