Archive for February 1st, 2011

February 1, 2011

The day my son fell in love with a book (and the night)

The free puppet shows at the Nashville Public Library might be the highlight of my week.  I LOVE them!  Generally, we go almost every Tuesday morning.  I ask my son each week if he wants to go, but that’s more of a formality–it’s always met with an enthusiastic “YES!” followed by excited discussion about which of the puppets will be there that day.

“Wishing Chair Productions”, three brilliant people who put on the shows, are all heroes of mine.  There’s none of the high-pitched, over-excited, shout-in-your-face, super-smiley over-acting that keeps me away from many a kids’ activity and class.  They juggle, they sing, they puppet (is that a verb?), they improvise, they act, and they read stories with a wonderful combination of wit, humor, and understated happiness.  And they even throw many a sarcastic comment at each other, as if trying the other’s patience, things that go over the heads of the toddlers perhaps, but land with smiles on the faces of the adults who accompany every week.

And I’d like to say that their repeated routines–such as JJ the Lamb playing peek-a-boo with Library Pete–are hysterically funny from my son’s point of view–and believe me they are.  But really, I’m the one laughing the loudest.  Every time.  Basically, I just love it.

Today at the puppet show was a particularly special day.  In the middle of the show, when they finished one of the books, my son jumps up from my lap and starts to say “Mommy!  Mommy!” rather loudly.  This was unlike him, and I wasn’t sure what he meant.  We are in the middle of a never-ending potty-training process and I thought at first he had peed on the floor…or worse.  But he settled down to watch the rest of the show and it was only afterwards that I realized what he was asking.  He had loved the book so incredibly much that he wanted to go check it out IMMEDIATELY.  In fact, we have only been home from the show about an hour and we’ve already read it twice.  (It would have been more but it was nap time.)

Title: Good Night, Mr. Night
Author/Illustrator: Dan Yaccarino
Genre: Picture Book
Age: 0 – 7

Summary and Review:

Mr. Night is a quiet man made of the dark and the stars, with moons for his eyes.  He quiets the animals, closes the flowers, and helps the young boy narrator close his eyes and go to sleep.  In the morning, Mr. Night falls asleep on the other side of a far hill as the sun rises and the boy whispers “Good Night, Mr. Night.”  Something about the book grabbed my son’s attention in such a magnetizing way.  It’s really fun to see that happen–the powerful connection between literature and humanity, even the smaller forms of humanity.

Follow up with the kids:

There are SO many fun things you could do.   Here are a few ideas:

1) Read the book at bedtime, and look out the window.  Ask your son if he sees Mr. Night.  Who helps your son close his eyes?

2) Have a preschooler draw pictures of what they think Mr. Night should be doing, in addition to the things he does in the book.

3) Write your own book from the point of view of Mr. or Ms. Sun.  Ask your child to think of what the sun does, and write your child’s ideas down.  You can write them in the same format as the book, with each phrase on a new sheet of paper.  Then give your child the paper to illustrate.

If you also enjoy this book, or have other ideas, please tell me about them by commenting on this entry!  Enjoy reading!

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