Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Day 92: Animalia

Magnificently marvelous menagerie makes a masterful, meticulous monograph.  Base's beautiful book of beasts bestows brilliance beyond belief.  Without a doubt, Animalia will be one of the most beautiful books you ever read with your child.  Ever.  "Within the pages of this book, You may discover, if you look, Beyond the spell of written words, A hidden land of beasts and birds.  For many things are 'of a kind', And those with keenest eyes will find, A thousand things, or maybe more -- It's up to you to keep the score."   This is not your ordinary alphabet book.  On every page from A to Z, Graeme Base creates an amazingly intricate illustration, complete with an alliterative tongue-twister that will test even some adult's vocabulary.  A few examples include "Crafty crimson cats carefully catching crusty crayfish," and "Ingenious iguanas improvising intricate impromptu on impossibly impractical instruments." Or perhaps the biggest tongue-twister of all, "Victor V. Vulture the vaudeville ventriloquist:  versatile virtuoso of vociferous verbosity, vexatiously vocalizing at the Valhalla Variety Venue."  Of course, it is the illustrations that truly make this book amazing.  They are beautifully detailed, exceptionally clever, and masterfully done.  I read in an interesting interview of his that it took Base months to complete each drawing.  I can certainly believe it!  Each incredible picture is full of things that begin with that letter of the alphabet.  You could literally look at some of them for an hour and not find everything.  As my son loves playing alphabet games, this book is a huge hit with him lately.  He loves looking for everything hidden in the pictures, including a small boy who appears in each one (intended to be Graeme when he was a child.  As he points out in the interview, this was even before "Where's Waldo?" came to be.)  This book can certainly be enjoyed by the older child, as well, and in fact might even be intended for a more sophisticated audience.  We especially love the lions on the L page.  My son always calls them the "library lions", after another one of our favorite books, featured back on Day 34. (One little warning to parents of very young children:  the "K" page features a picture of "Kid Kookaburra and Kelly Kangaroo kidnapping Kitty Koala," with some type of gun in their hands.  My son doesn't even seem to notice and loves looking for all of the other "K" things, plus it is illustrated in a cool, 1930's style, but some people might be turned off by the gun.  Just throwing that out there.)  We've had hours of fun with this book, and I love that it is the type of story that can grow along with your child.  There are so many other things you can do after reading this, too.  Make your own alphabet letter pictures, or see how many words you and your child can name that begin with one letter (my son loves doing this!)  We also happen to have an Animalia puzzle, which he loves doing, too.  Animalia is a beautiful work of art that is bound to captivate minds both young and old. 


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