It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a 2-in-1 Review here in GatheringBooks. We used to do that a lot during the old days when we still had an endless reserve of energy when it comes to doing book reviews. When I read Emily Gravett’s Again! I just thought that it is a perfect match for Vera B. Williams’ More! More! More! Said the Baby which was recommended by children’s book expert Leonard S. Marcus during his keynote speech here during the AFCC.
This is the first Vera B. Williams picture book I have read. It’s a veritable feast of bright colors and striking splash of paints that you would simply have to touch with your own hands. It tells of three love stories with the prettiest little babies in the universe: Little Guy with his sun-kissed hair, Little Pumpkin with his charming brown curls and gloriously-bronzed skin, and Little Bird with her wisps of straight black hair and sleepy sleepy eyes.
I was also struck by how lively and animated the illustrations are as readers sigh and smile (lovingly wrapped in their own memories) as they see fathers swinging their little tykes in the air, grandmamas lifting them to the skies, tasting their tiny little toes as they scream in delight, and mommies rocking their babies to sleep. The text is equally soft and comforting and begs to be read aloud in different voices as chubby-cheeked children giggle, squeal, and scream More! More! More!
The book is a wondrous celebration of love that sparkles with multiple colors and spoken in different tongues and various voices. It is a reminder that pure love in its essence is a splash of paints that form the glittering colors of the rainbow.
For parents and teachers who may want to use this book at home or in the classroom, you can check out this downloadable pdf link created by kcls.org for more activities that you can explore alongside your read-aloud of the book.
I fell in love with Emily Gravett’s genius the moment I read Wolves, Spells, Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears, Meerkat Mail and The Rabbit Problem (check here for my feature of said books). When I saw that she has a new book, I immediately grabbed it from our bookshelves in the library. My own ten year old squealed in glee when she saw the name at the cover of the book: Emily Gravett! That’s love, I thought.:)
This picture book introduces the readers to unforgettable characters, fire-breathing Cedric the Dragon and his mum who is reading him a bedtime story about another Cedric the Dragon who torments shy trolls under the bridge and grabs dainty little princesses and turns them into pies.
Such is his gleeful joy in these little workouts that tomorrow, he vows to do it all over again! As Mum closes the book, however, Little Cedric grabs Mummy Dragon’s tail, and shouts “Again!”
Well-meaning but often-exhausted parents would resonate with this book as they see the Mummy Dragon slowly snoozing against her will as Little Cedric grows ever more impatient and frustrated. It actually reminded me a little bit of Jan Ormerod’s Moonlight as both mum and dad fall asleep even before their wide-eyed and energetic child does during bedtime.
Both books are sweet reminders of night time rituals, bedtime stories, quiet little tickles, evening prayers, and tiny butterfly kisses tucked in little children’s ears as they slowly slowly fall asleep. Somehow, it provides that comforting feel that despite the day’s stresses, hectic, and hurried schedules – everything is right again with the world with your child in your arms.
Here is a poetry offering from Naomi Shihab Nye which I thought is a perfect match for these two lovely books. I am also including a few of my daughter’s photos when she was just a wee-little-bit – how fast time flies indeed.
To One Now Grown
If we could start over, I would let you get dirtier.
Place your face in the food, it’s okay.
In trade for great metaphors,
the ones you used to spout every minute,
I’d extend your bedtime,
be more patient with tantrums,
never answer urgency with urgency,
try to stay serene.
In one scene you are screaming
and I stop the car.
What do we do next?
I can’t remember.
It’s buried in the drawer of small socks.
Give me the box of time.
Let’s make it bigger.
It’s all yours.
— Naomi Shihab Nye
More! More! More! Said the Baby: 3 Love Stories by Vera B. Williams. Scholastic, Inc. NY, 1990. Bought my own copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.
Again! By Emily Gravett. Macmillan Children’s Books, 2011. Book borrowed from the community library. Book photos were taken by me.