supersize or minimize me. you choose.

Nothing at our house is how it should be.  We eat snacks off of tiny little butter pat plates or we buy monstrous sized boxes of Kashi at Costco that remain homeless as they can’t fit properly on any shelf.  For the kids, the tinier or the larger an object is, the better.  As long as you give them something that isn’t “regular-sized,” they are putty in your hands.

And here comes in our reading choices as of late:

cake

A current repeat customer for bedtime stories these days is “Who Made This Cake?”   by Chihiro Nakagawa.  Despite the sparse text in this book, reading this book can take us half an hour as we gaze at the pictures of the miniature builders and their tiny construction equipment world.  Little e. especially likes the pages where the builders (who have been employing their backhoes to scoop up butter and their cranes to lift eggs) take a break from making the real-sized cake while the cake is baking in the oven.   Both kids giggle and point out the “funniest guy”–maybe it’s the one napping on the ground with his head on his hardhat or it could be the ones standing around and drinking coffee like daddy. Whatever it is, I really like this book too because of its subtle storytelling approach–it’s asking the kids to imagine a preposterous “what if” scenario without hitting them over the head with dull narration.  And the kids get it. 

Another story in the same vein is “The Giant Jam Sandwich” which was a favorite of Will’s when he was a child.

jam

Like “Who Made This Cake?” John Vernon Lord’s “The Giant Jam Sandwich” involves oversized food and the creation of it.  In this storybook, the residents of the town are struggling to deal with a wasp invasion and the solution to the problem does not involve heavy doses of chemical pesticides but the creation of a giant jam sandwich to lure the wasps to a sticky internment.  (Note:  we have employed this strategy on our back deck to deal with yellow jackets with limited success).  My only beef with the plot of this charming book is why they went to all of the effort to bake a giant loaf of bread if they were only going to use two slices of it for the sandwich.  What a waste!  They never tell you what they did with the remaining 7/8 of the loaf. 

Anyway, the kids think that Itching Down is a hysterical name for a town, but I really just like the illustrations with their scratchy black lines and textures and patterns.  The rhythm of the verses is also quite hypnotic and as a lecture by the author/illustrator reveals, having Janet Burroway transform the text into rhyme from a pretty dry narrative was a good call.

For little children, so much in their world is monstrously huge–the sofa in the living room is a struggle to climb up on, the walk to the mailbox is interminable, the kitten next door is a full-grown tigress.  In these two pleasantly silly books, the inappropriately sized objects not only appeal to a kid’s sense of humor but they also pick up on a feeling of “overwhelmedness” that kids can have as they navigate the big, supersized world around them.

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2 Comments »

  1. Amy said

    Just requested these for the library..sorry, you’ll have to return them sooner than a year now!

  2. eluet said

    Curses! Well, we own one of them and I’m returning the other late just to spite you.

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