Monday, April 6, 2009

Weekly Geeks - Picture Books

In honor of two literary events that occur in the month of April - International Children's Book Day (April 2) and Poetry month - Weekly Geeks asks us to ponder one of these two thoughts:
Option A: Be a kid! You could read a picture book (or two or three) and share what you read. Write up a post sharing your favorite books from childhood Write up a post about reading together with your child(ren)

Option B: Be a poet!
Write your own poem and share with us! Write bookish ABC poems--ABC's of favorite authors, favorite books, favorite characters, favorite book blogs, or any combination of the above. Maybe even an ABC's of a bibliophile or book addict. (A is for...B is for...etc.)(For example, ABC's of Dr. Seuss) Review a book you've read recently in haiku. (It doesn't need to be a poetry book you're reviewing, any book will do.) See Emilyreads for an idea of what I mean. Read a poetry book and review it Participate in Poetry Friday (This week's host will be Carol's Corner.)
OK - well, poetry is not really my thing (mostly because I have never really studied it - and I hope to remedy that some year) I will choose to be a kid for this post.

It has been nearly half a century since I was a wee little tyke, and my memory is not as good as it once was, so I am afraid that I do not have a vivid memory of a particular book that I enjoyed when I was younger. I DO remember having a rather extensive collection of "My Golden Books" that my parents often read to me. I loved the colorful illustrations and I liked to pretend that I could follow along as they were reading the words to me.

Another book that I remember asking my parents to read over and over again was a collection of fairy tales. It was an over-sized book with a purplish color - and had the most beautiful illustrations (mostly pen and ink type pictures, as I recall, with not a lot of color) that accompanied the beginning of each fairy tale. I felt like such a 'big" girl when this book was read to me because the illustrations were sparse and the writing was long and descriptive (it took a long time before you could turn the page!)

As I mentioned this week on the Booking through Thursday meme about libraries, I read to my children A LOT. I know that we had many, many books that we would read over and over again. The Berenstain Bears series was certainly a favorite - with Queenie McBear always illustrating a worthwhile lesson. But I think the single book that was read and enjoyed by all 3 children was, Barn Dance by Bill Martin and John Archambault. The story is told in rhyming couplet form and is about a little farm boy who can't sleep. He gets up in the middle of the night and hears noises coming from the barn. He quietly heads on over and discovers that the animals come alive at night and "party hearty" I originally picked this book up at the library on a whim and we read it so much I decided to by a personal copy. I believe we read that book so much I had to buy a second copy when child number 3 came around. About 3 years ago my eldest - who is now nearly 23 - said to me one day, "Mom - do you remember the book Barn Dance? You used to read all the voices and sing all the songs?" Yea....I guess this book was a favorite. And even now, if I concentrate really hard, I can recall nearly the entire book from memory. It begins:
Full moon shinin', shinin' big an' bright,
Pushin' back the shadow, holdin' back the night.
Not a thing stirrin', quiet as could be,
Just the whisper on the leaves on the cottoon wood tree.

Ol' houn' dog, whinin' in his sleep,
Dreamin' after rabbits in a game of hide an' seek.
Over in the farmhouse, all the lights were out,
Farmer an' his wife an' kids, not a one about -

All except the skinny kid with questions in his head,
Much too full of wonderment to spend the night in bed,
I think the favorite part of the book was the actual description of the Barn Dance:
Right Hand! Left hand! Around you go!
Now back-to-back your partner in a do-si-do!
Mules to the center for a curtsey an' a bow!
An' hey there, skinny kid! Show the old cow how!

Out came the skinny kid, a-tickin' and a-tockin'
An' a hummin' an' a-yeein' an'a-rockin' an' a-sockin'
an' he danced his little tow through a hole in his stockin'
Well, you get the idea. Just recalling the book brings back fond memories and while I do not wish to go back to that time in my life --- I am looking forward to one day when I can re-read this book to the next generation.


  1. I only heard about Weekly Geeks for the first time today, and you're the third person to mention it! Next stop, their site. Thanks. Oh, and I think I'll be trying to find the Barn Dance book for the tots. Thank you, again!

  2. You're the second person to mentio Barn Dance on Weekly Geeks, and I've never heard of it before - I'm going to see if the library have a copy!

  3. Oh Molly! Barn Dance was the ultimate favorite around here also. I read so many books to my children, but Barn Dance (behind Goodnight Moon) is always one I remember. My husband has commented recently how much he enjoyed reading that book to each of our four children. Thanks for the memories. I still need to write my weekly geeks post--augh! I am so behind on everything.

  4. Mom -- I LOVE Barn Dance! I saw it on the book shelf the other night, and it brought back all the memories of when you'd put music to the words of the book. I think it was always one of my favorites, cause it combined music with a book!!

  5. I've never heard of that one before, but it sure sounds like it was well-loved!


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