Where The Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are
Maurice Sendak

Truly, I can’t think about this book without getting teary-eyed. I know its a little cliché to say that this is my ultimate favorite children’s book but really, how could anyone NOT heart this book!? When I was a child of about nine years old, I read this book as best as I could to my younger brother who received it for his fifth birthday; even further, it’s the first book I bought when I found out I was expecting my very own little one. What initially drew me to the book all those years ago were the illustrations, however, I am posting this book for a completely different reason.

Although, I have to admit I am a big fan of Maurice Sendak’s illustrations, the actual plot of the book is really taking on an analogous undertone as of late. You see, my darling little BOOG has taken to tantrum throwing. I won’t go into great detail, as I am certain I am not the only one here with a tantrum throwing 2 year old on their hands, but it can be quite taxing at times to say the very least…… which is why I decided to evaluate this book in an entirely different perspective.

The story is based on not only Max’s fantasies but also on the real life consequences of his misbehaviors. The story goes, one night Max dresses up in his wolf suit and wreaks havoc. He chases the dog (in our case a cat) with a fork (again in our case a misplaced hanger) and is eventually scolded by his mommy who calls him a “WILD THING!” To which Max replies, “I’LL EAT YOU UP!” As a result, his mommy sends him to his room sans supper. A little harsh but after a good sulk with imaginary WILD THINGS, Max learns his lesson. He begins to want to be "…where someone loved him best of all." Max's WILD THINGS adventure ends when he smells his dinner from “afar”. Despite the WILD THINGS’ protests, “Oh Please Don’t Go! We’ll Eat You Up We Love You SO!” Max sails back to his own room where he finds his supper waiting for him “and it was still HOT.”

I love this book even more as an adult because in the end Max comes to grips with his own anger and his piqued feelings towards his mother. In the end, after he succumbs to his brooding emotions by creating a sub-reality where he is crowned KING OF ALL WILD THINGS, Max puts his impishness aside and decides that he doesn’t want to be angry anymore. The hot dinner waiting for Max is proof that his mommy loves him regardless of his misdeeds.

This is particularly appealing to me because it speaks about emotions that are realistic not only to me, but also my daughter. In a sense Max represents a character which any young WILD THING can correlate with. *Especially my Lil BOOG* BECAUSE SHE IS THE MOST WILD THING OF ALL!

The above images were created for Terrible Yellow Eyes (TYE)

“The contributing artists share a love and admiration for Sendak's work and the pieces presented here were done as a tribute to his life and legacy.”

Find out more about the project here.


The Red Balloon

Le Ballon Rouge (The Red Balloon)
Albert Lamorisse1956

There is something about foreign films that sound pretentious. (Maybe it’s the sub-titles) Thankfully this short film has none. In fact, it is set to music and has almost no dialogue at all! It tells the tale of a little boy, who on his way to school discovers a red balloon. The red balloon proceeds to follow the boy throughout the streets of Paris.

It’s a short film at just about 35 minutes and provides a glance at the area of Bellville in Paris. An area that regrettably has been altered considerably since the films making; Ninety-five percent of what is seen in the film exists no more. It has won numerous awards and has been digitally re-mastered not too long ago and is available on DVD. The cinematography is quite charming and the town seems muted around the vibrant color of The Red Balloon and at times the balloon seems to take on a life of its own.

The book by the same name is also worth a read! My favorite version is the children’s I can read edition published in 1978, this particular cover is a great segue way for the film. There are many versions of it out there and if you happen across it in any vintage form you should scoop it up at once. Either way, both are classics and when The BOOG is old enough I hope she enjoys it as much as I did when I was just a wee little thing!


Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure
Edward Packard1979

I have to credit my one of my favorite Aunts for introducing me to this series. During my pre-teenage years I babysat for my little cousin and my aunt would than repay me by buying me copious amounts of books. While on one of our many visits I purchased a gem of a collection known as Choose Your Own Adventure Books. Among them, Cave of Time, The Mystery of Chimney Rock and Vampire Express. From there a collector was born and I gobbled up every vintage copy I could lay my hands on! A good many years later, I have no idea what happened to them and I still search for them like mad whenever I go thrifting……………

Amazingly enough, Edward Packard along with publishing company Simon & Schuster, are releasing some of the titles under a new name for your viewing pleasure. There are three newly named “U-venture” mobile applications for iphone and ipad and can be purchased for 3.99 a piece on iTunes. The First story, Return to the Cave of Time, was released this past June and two more, Through the Black Hole and The Forbidden Castle, are due out later this summer and early next fall.

The new “U-Ventures” include the old text but with more choices and subsequent endings. Usually I am not into bells and whistles (nothing beats a good old copy of a book) but the level of interactivity is enhanced and, depending on your decision, a physical response is triggered. The image on the screen may fade to black, buzz or shake violently, and may even generate sound effects and music.

Now to buy an iphone…….


Everyone Poops!

Everyone Poops
Taro Gomi1977

So, The BOOG is somewhat stunned when she realizes what our cat’s are actually up to in their litter box! I was cleaning it out the other day and she pointed towards it and exclaimed, “STINKY POO POO!” I’ve chosen to highlight this book for obvious reasons; it is an awesomely illustrated book explaining the inevitable in everyone’s life…......Everyone Poops!

This one is a no brainer and it’s great for little ones that have limited reading capabilities as it has no plot whatsoever. In the beginning different animals are chronicled explaining that all animals poop differently and in different places. When I first looked through the pages I was taken aback at the illustrations because on almost every page there is a view of the animal’s rear end and they are clearly pooping but decided it was all in good fun!

The last pages of the book explain that because every animal eats, every animal must therefore poop! Straight and to the point!

These days Taro Gomi is illustrating coloring books and doodle pages..... and, Iam happy to report, there is a new sequel to Everyone Poops simply known as "The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts" written by Shinto Cho, which I have yet to check out!


The Monster at the End of This Book

The Monster at the End of This Book
Jon Stone ~ Illustrated by Mike Smollin

I didn’t grow up in the 70’s or anything but having thrifty grandparents meant lots and lots of vintage finds, including books. I believe I read a ton of Sesame Street books before ever having watched an episode on T.V. however; I can’t say I ever came across The Monster at the End of This Book. I really wish our paths had crossed years and years before because this might be one of the most hilarious kid’s books out there!

In its first year of publication, the book, which is one of the first to star Grover, sold two million copies and is still considered an all-time one-year sales record for a single book.
It is written in comic book style, utilizing thought bubbles and various styles of text, but the most appealing element of The Monster at the End of This Book is what lengths Grover will go to keep you from turning another page, all so he can avoid the monster which turns out to be HIM!
Luckily, I stumbled across it during a trip to the thrift store and The BOOG spotted it on the shelf (She has Sesame Street radar) and now it is one of our preferred titles when we feel like giggling.


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Bill Martin Jr. ~ Illustrated by Eric Carle1967

The BOOG is lucky enough to have older cousins which means sometimes she is awarded gratuitous hand me downs. Case in point, this super awesome board book copy of Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? The book was designed, very simply, to help toddlers relate colors to objects, which it accomplishes beautifully, but it also gave The BOOG the confidence to read to her mommy for a change! Since she knows all the words and animals she, very matter-of-factly, relays the entire story, and I don’t even have to utter a word.

To my astonishment, there is an actual back story involved with Brown Bear.


“Eventually, I started painting my own papers to achieve even greater texture and I began using archival quality materials. You can see these changes in the art work from these selected illustrations from Brown Bear where a history of how my style has evolved is evident.”

Carle reveals that there are actually 4 complete sets of art work for Brown Bear. Even further, he points out the technical process by which he creates his illustrations and how they have evolved throughout the years. He initially would use commercially available tissue papers in various shades of colors and add crayon and paint for texture but over time these papers faded and the rubber cement he was using discolored the papers and did not last very long. In short, he would have then redo art work for numerous other titles because the original work had faded and needed to be recreated for reprints. Fortunately, using archival materials made for more long-lasting art work and a more consistent design.
See, You learn something new everyday! ;)


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Lewis Carroll
~ Illustrated by John Tenniel1965

Lookie, Lookie what I scored! I have been on the hunt for a vintage reading copy of this book forever. After several failed attempts at finding a decently priced readers copy online, I lucked out and found one at the Good Will for next to nothing! Literally it cost nothing! It was buy one get one free day and the hubby was scrounging in his usual area, while I lingered in the kid’s books section, and he just happened past it. It is the most perfect little copy in that it has the original illustrations by Mr. Tenniel. The pages have this rustic quality to them and it came with a dustjacket, which is nice because I prefer the hardcover illustration and anything that helps preserve it is fine by me!

I was uber obsessed with the animated Disney adaptation and I sat thru the movie version but unfortunately, I have never read the actual book, so I am ready to dig in and delve into the literary world of Alice’s adventures in wonderland! They even found a way to make the text whimsical!

So now that I have it in my possession I got to thinking about my sister’s 30th birthday. The theme for her party is “The mad hatter’s tea party.” Which then reminded me of gwen Stefani’s video. It’s couture, meets harajuku , meets vogue circa the 1800’s (If such a thing existed) In a nutshell, it’s going to be one mean soiree! Anyhoo, I am rambling on and on……. I’m just going to shut my mouth and read my book now :) Please enjoy the video……


A Flower Pot Is Not a Hat

A Flower Pot Is Not a Hat
Martha Moffett
~ Illustrated By Susan Perl

A flower pot is not a hat.
A lamp shape is not a hat.
A frying pan is not a hat.
If I put it on my head it is.

As a mother to an only child, and coming from a very large brood of 5, I sometimes undergo a sense of regret whenever I come to the realization that the BOOG may never feel that sense of ridiculousness that seems to be contagious amongst a pack of likeminded little munchkins. Though my siblings and I never ran out of ways to make my grandmother punish us in separate areas of the house, this book reminded me of how simply we turned a sheet draped table into a castle or a cut up tube sock into a fashionable ensemble for our Barbie dolls.(True Story)

The pictures throughout this book are so full of engaging peculiarities punctuated with large morsels of bold typeface, each scene surrounded with plenty of sub-drama . The children in this book try new inventive ways to explore their surroundings while exploiting familiar objects like an umbrella, or a chair and even, at one point, a frying pan!

"If I can sit on it, pound it, ride on it, sleep in it, play with it, and put it on my head, then I can find out what it is by myself."

Just when I think the BOOG is off in la la land while I am reading, she surprises me with a new observation. “Look, an umbrella mama!, “ she declares, while looking inquisitively at the little children not knowing what to make of the little child riding atop an umbrella. “Is it raining?” she asks. I have to explain the child is being silly and then she lets out a huge giggle because if there is one thing any child loves, it’s being silly!

If there is one thing this book should make you realize it’s that, even if you're just young at heart like me, it’s ok to be ridiculous and juvenile. Especially in front of your kids, because life is too short not laugh; even if it’s at yourself.


Goodnight Moon

Today I will start with an obvious favorite of BOOG’s. Good Night Moon, which is both written and illustrated by two very big names in the children’s lit. circle, both past and present. First published in 1947, it remains the quintessential bedtime book even today. It is written by Margaret Wise Brown, in rhyme, and depicts a bunny’s bedtime ritual of saying Goodnight to the many items in his bed room . After reading this pretty much every night for a year and a half, one of BOOG’s favorite things about this book, and impart, what makes it a bedtime winner, is the detail in all of the illustrations.

The story takes place in the bunny’s bedroom but upon prolonged readings you’ll begin to notice the details in the illustrations, beautifully laid out by Clement G. Hurd, and one reading will never be the same as the next. For instance, the young mouse and kittens wander around the room. On various pages throughout the book, the mouse is present in different positions about the room. We can read it for a whole hour just searching for the mouse!

We loved it so much that we bought a huge lap edition, which BOOG has littered with an array of kitten stickers, and a tiny board book version to take with us when we travel. Even though we have read it a million and one times it’s still a nightly pick.


Waking up in Mommy-Land ; When Old Becomes New

While I have been off in mommy-land, tending to the little one, (to whom we affectionately refer to as the BOOG) inspiration planted its tiny seed. Being an avid reader of all things fiction, I have come to view my love for children’s picturebooks as, somewhat, of a guilty pleasure. My husband has labeled me a hoarder and in a way I am because I have an inordinate amount of children’s classics sitting row upon row of shelves and until last night I had no idea why I was compelled to collect and hoard in such an ardent manner. That is, until I noticed my 2yr old trying to sneak a peek at MY beloved stash of contraband.

It suddenly occurred to me that I have been collecting these books for her and that although they meant something to me at one time, she has yet to discover what they will mean to her. Yes she has her own bookshelves full of wonderful titles, and yes she is fine with reading the same books over and over (and over and over and over) again: Its mommy and daddy who are always ready for something fresh, yet she is still drawn like a moth to a flame over the coveted books I’ve compiled over the years. I remember wishing she would walk over to one of my old faves and pluck it off the shelf and demand I read it to her but nothing prepared me for the moment it actually came into fruition.

Feeling very nostalgic I thought I would share some of our favorites with you and invite you into the world of mommy and BOOG. I will post one vintage favorite a day with a smattering of the BOOG’s new faves, which will no doubt be considered vintage when she is a mommy herself, in the hopes that perhaps you will be inspired to assemble a vintage (both old and new) collection of your very own…… to share with your current or future little ones. ENJOY!!!


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