Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What I Do To Books That Have Been Bad

Can't find my camera, so please forgive the cellphone pic.
First, that me say that I know that there are no such thing as bad books, just books that are misunderstood...but still.

I picked up a used hardback copy of My World several months ago, and at first I was like, "Why would anyone willingly give away the sequel to Goodnight Moon?!" I knew it had a checkered reputation, but I thought I'd find something in it others didn't. Nope. It's strange, and I know Margaret Wise Brown had something ambitious and great in mind here, but the poetry is clumsy and the whole awkwardly written operation just creaks. Suffice it say, we haven't cracked it once, nor iw it something I'm saving for a special day when I think the kid is ready.

I was about to return this book to the Los Angeles used-book system, from whence it would be circulated through a series of used-book foster homes until it came of age, but then I realized that the illustrations by Clement Hurd (especially the full-color spreads pictured above) are an fairly complete and elegant depiction of a toddler's world. We're learning new words and concepts at a breakneck pace around here, so I ripped out the pictures and taped them up at toddler level.

These pictures will be torn up, ripped down and generally demolished before too long (sorry Clement!) but in the meantime, I think there will be a chance to talk about teakettles and tools and toothbrushes and trains, and we'll have a lot of fun with these pictures before our copy of My World goes to its final rest. Fare thee well, little book!

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