I’m not sure what came over me, but the other day, when I paused from the grueling job of writing a first draft, a young adult story, I glanced over at the bookshelves in my office. Not only did I glance, but I reached--for the picture books. I love picture books. Some of my favorites are shelved in my office. So, before my inner disciplinarian could stop me, I grabbed a few of these books.
I wrapped my fingers around Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. In this hilarious story, as a bus driver goes on break, he asks the audience to keep an eye on his vehicle. As soon as he leaves, though, a wacky pigeon starts begging the audience to let him drive the bus. The pigeon is relentless and this is really funny. I love that pigeon. In fact, I worry that I relate to the cheeky bird a bit too much.
I picked up Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, pictures by Betsy Lewin. Another hilarious picture book. Cows start leaving Farmer Brown typed notes with their demands for better working conditions. Fabulous. Clearly the message here is that one should never leave a typewriter in a barn.
Of course my hands reached for Go, Dog. Go! By P.D. Eastman This is one of those classic books that I adored as a wee one and still cherish. Dogs in all shapes, sizes, and colors are all over the place in this silly, but adorable book. My favorite part is the ongoing disagreement about hats, but I also love the dog party at the top of a tree. Who doesn’t love a good dog party at the top of a tree?
And then I re-read The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper (a great book to read when one is trying to finish a first draft), Fox In Sox by Dr. Seuss (to be honest, I love all the Dr. Seuss books), The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (the version illustrated by Michael Hague is my favorite), and The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (I have always loved all of the Beatrix Potter tales).
Last but not least, I grabbed an obscure and out of print book that I cherish: Heaven by Nicholas Allan. This is a touching story about a young girl, Lily, who finds her beloved dog packing. She grills him about where he is going until a couple dog angels show up to make his destination clear. He takes a moment to explain that she shouldn’t be sad because Heaven will be wonderful—full of bones and lampposts and “whiffy things to smell on the ground.” Fantastic. Eventually, though, Lily’s dog must go. The dog angels have a schedule (but of course they do). Lily is very sad, as we all are when we must let go of a pet, but eventually she comes upon a stray puppy that needs a home. Awww.
Do you have a favorite picture book or picture books? I hope so. They are special, even if you are all grown up.