Peggy Rathmann, The Day The Babies Crawled Away
Reese and I discovered this book at the Henrico Public Library (at the amazing Tuckahoe branch) on Tuesday. It is Griff's and my new favorite and gets read several times a day. Two thumbs waaaaayyy up. The text is funny, the rhyme scheme is bouncy, and the illustrations are all in silhouette, with subtle and amusing details.
I'm disappointed in the Booklist review on Amazon, which states, "not only must kids read details into the flat, black silhouettes, but they will also find that some objects are so small they are hard to discern. In addition, though the text is peppy, it can be difficult to read aloud."
Sorry, but that's ridiculous. This book has, as the School Library Journal review notes, "levels of complexity." The text was entertaining to read aloud the first time and remains so after multiple readings. During every reading, we delight in our favorite parts of the illustrations (like the upside-down baby) as well as in finding new things in the illustrations; when we read it today, I realized that one of the babies, who I previously thought had Linus Van Pelt-like hair, actually has tiny cornrow-style braids. Griff and I also discussed what kind of a hat the boy is wearing and brought out our own dress-up hats to compare their features to the features of the boy's hat. Children don't need every little detail to be given to them, and while some books provide amazing detail (as Jacqueline K. Ogburn's fantastic The Magic Nesting Doll does), others can be just as fabulous for only suggesting details and allowing children to fill in some parts of the story. The Day The Babies Crawled Away is just such a book.