Saturday, December 31, 2011

Along a Long Road, by Frank Viva

My family and I are just back from an intense trip to Kenya.   While we were there our daughter struggled a bit with being out of her normal routine.  And by "a bit" I really mean "a great deal."   She would ask for the places she loves to go, the foods she loves to eat, and the people who are normally in our daily life.

People like our favorite librarian.

I was playing "Trot, Trot to Grandma's House" with her.

Wait.  Does everyone know that game?

You sing "Trot, trot to Grandma's house to get a little girl some cherries.  And when we got there, the tree was bare, so we trot back, trot back, trot back...Weeeeeeeeeee..."  All while bouncing your baby or toddler on your lap and leaning them back at the end.

We learned that sweet and fun little lap jog at the play group at our local library, but I was still a bit surprised when at the end of our fun, she asked.  "Trot, trot to Grandma's house with Miss Lori?" - See, she would often volunteer to go onto the Librarian's lap during that song, and I just think she was missing home.

So quickly (less than 24 hours) after our return stateside, we went off to the library.  We saw Miss Lori, she played with her favorite library toys, and I got a few new reads for us.

Enter Along A Long Road, by Frank Viva.

What a delightfully simple book.  The cyclist takes us on his tour through beautifully designed and illustrated scenes, highlighted by a long, shiny yellow road that traverses every page.

The promotional video above gives you a taste of the illustrations and the simplicity of the text.  My daughter has only read it three or four times, but was already asking me to recite it for her on the car ride to a friends house.  (I wonder sometimes if she is shocked that I cannot memorize her books quite as fast as she can!)

I am delighted she enjoys this book, because for me, it represents so much.  It reminds me of the sports enthusiasts in my life, who need to make time for their sport in the way that the rest of us need to breathe.  It reminds me of the love I have for libraries and the treasures we find in each visit.  But most of all, it reminds me that we have survived our first trip to Kenya as a family.  It was a long road and there were lots of bumps, but the beauty and memories we found along the way were worth it.  And the feeling of accomplishment is bolstering.

Expect I will write more about the trip in another format.  But forgive a few anecdotes here and there on this blog.  It was life-altering.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Panda Owl Sheep

Today at the library we had a fantastic time.  I'm not completely certain if my daughter had more fun sitting in the chairs, driving a found rhinoceros down the aisles of books, or actually reading, but what does that matter?

We read two books by Emma Quay: Puddle Jumping: A Book About Bravery and Sleep Tight: A Book About Bedtime.

I must admit, they were simple, but fun.  Each starts out with a nice, cheerful introduction: "Hi I'm Panda.  Hi I'm Owl.  Hi I'm Sheep.  Hi Friends."

And they are friends.  I can't imagine these three particular animals ever actually having the opportunity to become friends, but that small fact aside, these three really exemplify what you want your friends to be: honest, encouraging, and loving.

I cannot wait to see how my daughter develops relationships with her peers.  I hope they encourage her to have fun when she is afraid; I hope they share their comfy sleeping bag when hers is uncomfortable; and I hope they share her enthusiasm about life in general.

Now, my friends, Sleep Tight.