I
think we all need at least one really nice positive thing about the
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weekends. Sometimes it may be something simple, like a video that
showcases something fun and sometimes it may be a movie poster that
embraces the aesthetic we all want Hollywood to aspire to. Sometimes it
may be a long-winded diatribe. Sometimes it’ll be from the staff and
extended family of CHUD.com. Maybe even you readers can get in on it.
So, take this to the bank. Every day, you will get a little bit of
positivity from one column a day here. Take it with you. Maybe it’ll
help you through a bad day or give folks some fun things to hunt down in
their busy celluloid digesting day.

10.23.10
by Andrea Rothe

What I’m Thankful For:

Five Childrens Books

When you’re a kid, childrens books, among other things become small worlds you willingly fall into. They’re safe and quiet and introspective places that exist the moment you open the cover. And like some of the VHS tapes we watched and rewound, watched and rewound, a few books always got repeat views. The bookshelf my sisters and I shared was in my room, scoring me easy access to two shelves of books when I felt a breeze of curiosity or boredom. We read them all multiple times. Books weren’t to be finished and discarded. They were to be kept and collected. Even into our teenage years and adulthood, we wouldn’t let them go. I have spent my twenties re-collecting the titles I loved as a child–a bit for nostalgia, and a bit out of curiosity to see if they still nibble at me. And they do.

Here are some of my favorites. Perhaps they’ll spark some memories of yours.


The Night Before Christmas written by Clement C. Moore and illustrated by Douglas Gorsline.

This book wasn’t just for Christmas. It stayed on the shelf year round and didn’t get packed up with the Christmas books my mom only unpacked for the holidays. The illustrations are what did it for me. I knew the poem. We all know that one. The tip of Gorsline’s pen seems to painstakingly touch each tiny toy and each corner of the house. There is so much detail and so much to look at in the panoramic illustrations that cover both pages every time you turn the page. My favorite one was the cross section of the house. I always loved to imagine that view of a home. It was like a dollhouse. Anything could happen in any room. It was another world that kept drawing me in, Christmas or not.



 
The Berenstain’s B Book written by Stanley and Janice Berenstain

  


I read this book so many times as a kid. I actually had it memorized at one point.

“Big brown bear….”
“Big brown bear, blue bull…”
“Big brown bear, blue bull, beautiful baboon…”
“Big brown bear, blue bull, beautiful baboon blowing bubbles…”

It goes on and on… and reading after reading, becomes an ear worm with a delicious cadence that has stayed with me through adulthood. I actually wrote the above from memory and had to check myself. Still got it after all these years. The illustrations are cute as always, and the book fit comfortably next to other similarly sized somewhat similarly illustrated Dr. Seuss books. But this one sticks. I will without a doubt read this to my kids if I get that lucky.



Little Bear written by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by Maurice Sendak
 

This book contains four little mini-stories, or chapters. We are to understand that the bear is just like a little boy at an age where he is too young for school. He stays home with his mother, and is king of his own imagination. But he still really needs his mom as much as he needs to play astronaut and celebrate his birthday. I actually enjoyed this book for the pictures, before I was old enough to read. By the time I was old enough for the story, I never took the time to read and re-read it. But for some reason, the pictures were enough as my mom or dad would read it to me. You might know illustrator Maurice Sendak for his Where The Wild Things Are


                 

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig


I read and reread this book as a child. It is the story of a donkey (of all things) that finds a magic pebble when he is out and about. He encounters a lion (of course) and suddenly wishes the he were a rock so that the lion cannot eat him. Well… he becomes a rock. But he can’t hold the pebble in his hoof (of course that is possible) to make another wish. The parents are beside themselves and look all over for him and wish for him back, which eventually happens. He is reunited with his ass-parents. It is a wonderful story. I’ve actually read that this is one of the “weaker” stories by Steig according to childrens book experts. Hmmph. I  loved it!




Someone Is Eating the Sun written by Ruth A. Sonneborn and illustrated by Eric Gurney


 
I read and reread this book, and actually understood the humor at a young age. I think this was also one of my mom’s favorites because she read it to us a lot. It is an end-of-the-world story about a few farm animals that think it is over when the sun begins to disappear during a solar eclipse. When the sun reappears, the animals rejoice and go back to doing the things they love with twice as much joy as before. It is funny, cute, sweet, and a very rare subject matter and rare depth for a book. It is completely endearing. This will definitely be on my kids’ shelves! I smile just the same when I read it today.


I hope I’ve inspired some good memories for you. Or some nostalgia. Or maybe a picture has popped into your head from a long time ago. If so… mission accomplished. You can discuss yours here on the message boards if you like.


Previously, I was thankful for:
The Dance Photography of Lois Greenfield

A Couple of Happy Whore Movies