Not only do I read books, but I love books (especially children’s books), and I bet you do, too!

Pink Me Up

Posted: April 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Picture Books | 242,253 Comments »

Fellow library school student Jennifer K. pointed out Pink Me Up by Charise Mericle Harper to me, and I’m so glad she did.

Cover of Pink Me Up!

I’ll start off by saying that I’m tired of all the princess, fairy, diva, and generally “pink” clap-trap marketed to young girls today, but this picture book is really about the special relationship between a girl and her father.  Although our protagonist loves pink, she is not timid, demure, or delicate.

As the book opens, Violet is excited for her “special Mama-and-me day” at the Pink Girls Pink-nic.  But when Mama wakes up with spots on her face, too sick to take her daughter to the big event, Violet throws herself on the floor and proclaims, “Today is the worst day EVER!”

Daddy steps in and offers to take her, but Violet shares some important information with her father – “Boys are NOT pink!”  But Daddy is not discouraged, and gets dressed for the occasion in a pink necktie.  Then Violet helps pink him up.

“We draw polka dots on Daddy’s shirt.  We tape stripes to Daddy’s pants.  We wrap paper on Daddy’s shoes.  We put stickers on Daddy’s jacket.”

And despite his daughter’s preconceptions about gender and color, Daddy is the hit of the pink-nic!  The mothers ooh-and-aah over him, and Violet finds that “now all the girls want to PINK UP their daddies, just like me.”

I found this to be a touching story about the love of a father for his daughter (maybe because even though I know he loves me, I’m quite sure my own father would never have let me pink him up – sorry, Dad!).


My Favorite Picture Book

Posted: March 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Picture Books | 242,858 Comments »

I’ve decided to start out my blog with posts on my favorite children’s books.  Today I’m writing about The Maggie B., by Irene Haas, which has been my favorite picture book since I can remember (see photo).

My copy of The Maggie B. originally belonged to my older sister, Beth.  When I found a reprinted edition on Amazon.com a few years ago, I excitedly bought 2 copies – one for me, and one to give to Beth on her birthday.  I wrapped her copy and waited expectantly for the big day.

When she opened her present, Beth said, “Hmm…The Maggie B….” and looked at me inquisitively.  I don’t think she remembered it at all!  And here all along I’d thought this book was just as beloved to her as it was to me.

I love The Maggie B. for its lush illustrations (color alternates with black-and-white) and the lyrical rhythm of the story.  It’s about a little girl named Margaret Barnes who wishes on a star one night before bed…and wakes to find she’s the captain of her own ship (the titular Maggie B.) with her brother James (“who was a dear baby”) along for company.  They spend an entire day on the Maggie B. and even make it through a scary storm to fall asleep to “nice steady rain [that] made a lullaby sound on the roof of the cabin.”

I imagine that the absence of any adults was part of the book’s attraction when I was little, but this treasure of a book has stood up well over time.  I was excited recently to find it listed as an “overlooked gem” in Elizabeth Bird’s Children’s Literature Gems: Choosing and Using Them in Your Library Career. She writes, “If comfort could be synthesized and pasted between the covers of a book, then what you’d have is Haas and her wonderful tale of a girl, her baby brother, and their ship filled with animals and good things to eat” (63).

So now I have 2 copies of The Maggie B. – the well-loved paperback copy from my childhood, and a nice new hardcover copy.  I think I’ll keep them both.