Friday, November 21, 2014

Books for Certain Unpredictable Occasions This Holiday Season

 “I knew the real you was in there somewhere.” –David Shannon A Bad Case of Stripes

Since winter, holiday and flu session is upon us, it seems useful to battle these (sometimes unpleasant) events with a few clever children’s books that entertains a those didactic messages capable of restoring a sense of what is really important. Sometimes all it takes is a pause from an adulthood mindset and by exercising some childlike imagination and laughter, things may feel a little brighter. So when you’re stuck in bed with the flu this session, overwhelmed with the rain, or simply surrounded by endless dishes, here are some fun kid stories that might speed up your recovery with happy thoughts.

David Shannon’s A Bad Case of Stripes is a fun story that starts with a young girl, Camilla Cream, trying to decide what to wear for the first day of school. After trying on forty different outfits, she becomes a walking, talking, breathing case of stripes. Through an unpleasant transformation, Camilla is faced to choose between being stuck in this dreadful state or ultimately being herself no matter what others think. So next time your stuck in bed with the flu, just think how lucky you are not to have come down with a terrible case of stripes and have virus tentacles growing from your walls.

Winter brings rainy days and Pinkalicious by Elizabeth Kann and Victoria Kann (and also illustrator) is one that may inspire some silliness when stuck indoors. When trying to give her kids something fun to do on a rainy day, the narrator’s mother helps the kids bake cupcakes. Since the narrator’s favorite color is pink, she insists that the cupcakes be made as pink as can be. Once the cup cakes are ready, the narrator has one to many and wakes up the next morning to find herself now as pink as her cupcakes. This of course grants her the name Pinkalicious. After realizing that being pink is not as amazing as she had thought it would be, she must follow the doctor’s advice to return to her normal self. This book is a friendly reminder that sometimes your elders (or doctors) have some good words of wisdom to follow.

Think your missing some adventure as holiday planning locks you into commitments you may not have wanted to do to begin with? How I Became aPirate by Melinda Long and illustrated by David Shannon is a fun tale of a little boy, Jeremy Jacob who tries being a pirate for a day. Jeremy’s family is busy not paying attention to him one day at the beach, when Captain Braid Beard and his crew who need assistance burying their treasure approach him. He decides to take this amazing opportunity, but he soon realizes that being a pirate entails the absence a few things he loves doing with his family.  It’s a great book that allows readers to reconsider what they already have and perhaps take for granted everyday. Just something positive to think about when you’re entertaining the entire family this Thanksgiving but no one really seems to notice.

Onto the topic of being nice to those you maybe don’ t want to be nice to, as the holiday spirit makes us do nice things we otherwise would not do, Enemy Pie by Derek Munson and illustrated by Tara Calahan King, highlights a few things about being nice. This fun story explores the lack of sensibility first impressions often have. Jeremy Ross shows how actually spending time with someone who you maybe started out resenting can turn this original enemy into a good friend. But read with caution since enemy pie does get eaten in this story. This story will teach readers that fathers have a funny way of teaching us about friendship but they might really know better than us.

If holiday dinner does not turn out the way it was supposed to and maybe missing a spice or two, fear not The Empty Pot by Demi will cheer you up. This book tells the story of an emperor that is looking for a successor to his kingdom. He decides to test all the boys of the land by giving them each a flower seed and the boy to produce the finest flower will be crowned. A young boy named Ping realizes that his flower seed will not grow. His father encourages him saying that he’s done his best and his best is good enough for the emperor, Ping chooses to present his empty flower pot to the emperor. Fortunately for him the flower seeds were not what they appeared to be and it was something else the emperor was really looking for. This goes to show that no matter what the outcome (of dinner), trying your best and being proud of it is the way to go.

Of course these are not the only children’s books that provoke the childlike spirit when stuck in bed, indoors or cooking a feast for unfamiliar (maybe bothersome) family, but these may be a good start as they remind us that childhood lessons transfer into grown-up scenarios too.

For fun read along videos of these books check out these links:

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