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!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 199: Creepy Carrots!

Ever since reading and falling in love with The Curious Garden, I've been a fan of Peter Brown's work.   When I heard he had won a Caldecott Honor for his illustrations in Aaron Reynolds' Creepy Carrots (congratulations, Peter!), I knew we had to check it out. We brought this book home from the library a few weeks ago and have been enjoying it ever since.  It's silly and fun, and as the title suggests, a little creepy... though not in a super scary sort of way.

Jasper Rabbit loves eating the carrots in Crackenhopper Field and snacks on them whenever he can.  On the way to school, going to little league practice, coming home at night... He just can't get enough!  Until one day, the carrots start following him.  "He first noticed something strange after the big game against the East Valley Hards.  Jasper was about to help himself to a victory snack... when he heard it.  The soft... sinister... tunktunktunk of carrots creeping."  (My son always gets such a kick out of that part.)  Before long, Jasper is seeing creepy carrots everywhere... in the shed, while he's brushing his teeth, in his bedroom at night.  But it's just imagination.  Or is it?

I just love Peter Brown's illustrations in this book and think they are the perfect compliment to Reynolds' story.  I especially love the way Brown contrasts the orange carrots with the otherwise black and white illustrations.  His choice of tones and color gives the story an eerie feel, similar to how music can make scenes in a movie feel more scary.  Fortunately, for my kids, at least, they find the story hilarious.  Were Jasper being followed by monsters instead of carrots, it probably would seem pretty frightening; but he's not.  I mean, vegetables being scary?  Carrots creeping around?  The very idea is silly enough in itself that my kids don't find the story at all scary.  I love the subtle message about not being too greedy, and also think the story helps kids see that while their fears might be irrational (for example, there is no such thing as monsters), they are real but within their control.  For us, this book offers just the right amount of suspense and humor to make an all-around entertaining read.


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