Friday, September 29, 2006

Brown Bear redux

Did I mention that Caroline is telling her books to us now? She’s been working on this for a bit - first lip syncing as I read to her, then echoing every line or jumping ahead to reach a favorite word or phrase before I get there. Sometimes during the day you can hear her rehearsing: "Do you like my hat? No, I do not like your hat. Good-bye! Good-bye!"

We often read the same book three times in one night. This is not always fun, especially if you and the Cat and the Hat don’t get along so well. So now I say that third time through is Caroline’s turn and hand over the book. Sometimes she’ll go for this, and ramble through the story ad libbing as she turns each page. She’s a perfectionist though and eventually she gets dissastisfied. In the middle of her account she’ll decide it‘s time to sing songs, or do something else more entertaining, or at least less work.

Then we tried Brown Bear. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. is a simple story book with beautiful illustrations and a catchy bit of repeated chatter: "(Brightly colored animal), what do you see?" "I see (another brightly colored animal) looking at me." Caroline loved it when she was a little baby, but we hadn't read it for nearly a year when I pulled it out again a few nights ago.

And discovered that the book is great for reading by heart because "what you see" is always the animal on the next page. Brown Bear sees Red Bird and Red Bird see Yellow Duck, and Caroline can easily keep going through blue horse, green frog, and on to gold fish with no problem. This is satisfying.

With Brown Bear, Caroline doesn’t let forgetting her lines phase her. The first time she read almost all the way through with no problems until she reached nearly the last page and realized she had no idea who the lady with glasses might be. She blinked twice, renamed the teacher "Green Shirt," and moved on with a flourish. Finished, she cheered in victory, gave me a high five and ran to the other room to tell Will, "Dada I did it!"

Now at night I ask her to read me Brown Bear, Brown Bear all by herself. She’ll go for it once or twice, but by the third time she’ll tell me, "Okay Mommie, how about a new one, this book looks good too don’t you think?" And I’ll say yes, and stretch out on the bed with my hands behind my head to hear the next rendition of stories from Caroline.


tuckova said...

"if you and the Cat and the Hat don’t get along so well."

Is it the Cat in the Hat really? Because for me, I like the book and I like the Cat... right up until the Things show up, at which point it just becomes an exercise in tedium. I hate the Things. The only way I got through reading that book over and over was reading in parallel in my mind one of the excellent parodies. There's one with Freudian analysis that's pretty good.

I like your party hat!

Julia said...

The Things are gruesome, it is true. It is all very Pandora's box, yet the kids don't even get the chance to make that bad decision. So not fun. The Cat has redeeming qualities, but the Things - no way.

I tolerate the book by imagining a friend of mine as one of the characters. He has a sister named Sally and his daughter grew up thinking the book was about her aunt and father. Also, I always like to ask Caroline at the end if she would tell her mommie about the day. After all, would you?

morskyjezek said...

What about Green Eggs and Ham? My other favorite Dr. Seuss was the 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.

Julia said...

I'm a fan of Green Eggs and Ham, and many of the Seuss books, even though I never warmed up to his illustrations and thought they were a freaky when I was a kid. But the rhymes are great and one day (just for kicks) I'd like to make a mini musical out of some of them.