Recently a good friend of mine went on vacation and visited the historical homes of well-known American authors. One of her stops was The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts. Color me green and call me a monster, because that is exactly what I am. However, being the wonderful and thoughtful friend that she is, she brought home a few souvenirs from her trip and she gave the boys two new Eric Carle books.
We love Eric Carle at our house. The first book we purchased for Benjamin was the board book version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Most of our Eric Carle books are board books and I like it that way. They hold up well. They can be chewed on, tossed, and affectionately jumped on and they remain readable.
Benjamin learned ABC’s with Eric Carle’s ABC flap book, and Eli is on his way down the same path. When I was first introduced to Eric Carle I was not all that impressed. I didn’t really like his art work. However, as a teacher and a mom I’ve come to really appreciate his books, especially from a literacy standpoint. For pre-readers these books are wonderful. They are simple and repetitive. The pictures are colorful and interesting. Books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Very Busy Spider introduce early learning skills like counting, days of the week, and animal sounds. They also address nature phenomena like the changing of caterpillars into butterflies and the building of spider webs.
The two new books we received do similar things. From Head to Toe encourages movement of different body parts. I read it aloud to both my boys, and although Eli can’t do everything yet, he tries his best to imitate Ben when he thumps his chest like a gorilla or arches his back like a cat. In Have you seen my cat? a little boy looks for his missing cat by visiting different countries and cultures asking the question of a man on a burro in a sombrero, a cowboy on a horse, and some african ladies with fruit baskets on their heads.
With toddlers and preschoolers in the house you can never go wrong with the purchase of an Eric Carle board book. So, thank you Lynne for thinking of us and the wonderful gifts.
Next time I’m sure your experience would be enhanced in the company of two well-behaved book loving toddlers and their mother. I’m sure we could clear our calendar…