The day has come! The time is now! My first blogfest is upon us!
I've had a great group of people sign up to bravely blog about their favorite picture book. Brave, you ask? Yes, brave. Because I think it takes a certain amount of self-reflection (which is always kind of scary) to narrow down your favorite anything. In fact, I admitted to Shannon O'Donnell over at Book Dreaming, that I had not managed to narrow down my choice and I'm the one who thought of this crazy idea!
And here it is Wednesday (as I write) and I'm still debating what to label as my "Favorite." The picture book that re-ignited my love of picture books when I started writing ("Bridget's Beret")? The picture books I love reading out loud to my children ("Bear Snores On" and "Llama Llama Red Pajama")? The picture book that touched my heart as a family member was dying ("City Dog, Country Frog")? The first picture book I could read all by myself and proudly brought to kindergarten to show off ("Go, Dog, Go")?
While all of those would be good choices, I decided to go with the picture book that stands out in my mind as my "favorite" when I was a kid. In fact, when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, one of the first things I did was buy this book on eBay (because it is out of print). It is "Popcorn", written and illustrated by Frank Asch. This is probably not one of Mr. Asch's more well known books. It is one of his bear books like "Milk & Cookies" and "Bread & Honey." But "Popcorn" captured my imagination as a child. It combined three of my favorite things as a kid. Halloween and popcorn and mail! I've referred to the Parents Magazine Press book club before, and this book came in the mail for me one day when I was little. Instant love!
In the story, Sam Bear invites friends over for a Halloween party when his parents go out and asks everyone to bring something for the party. Everyone turns up in fun costumes and with popcorn. When they decide to pop all of the popcorn, it fills the entire house. I'm not sure why, but this appeals to my need for coziness. Doesn't it sound cozy to be surrounded by popcorn? All snug like a package being mailed? No? Just me? Anyway, they have to eat their way out of the mess before Mom and Dad get home. When they get back, Sam is in bed and they've brought him some popcorn for taking good care of the house!
Something I find interesting as an adult, is that this is basically a John Hughes-type plot. Mom & Dad are out of the house, so a big party is thrown and gets out of control. Very high school-ish. Even though I never did this (I wasn't exactly a rebel), when I was small the idea of it delighted me. There is something very liberating about reading a story where the "kid" does something independent of their parents and basically gets away with it. The brilliance of this book is that even though Sam's parents don't catch him, he still learns his lesson because he and all of his friends have stomach aches and regret. And then it is rubbed in when his "treat" is just more popcorn from his unsuspecting parents. Or did they know all along? : )
Now go read about other favorite picture books!