In my first attempt to provide some mental fertilizer for you, I started to write a description of Wendell Berry’s “The Unsettling of America”. The book is excellent, but my write up got stuck in the mental version of quicksand. Wendell Berry will wait for another day.
Today, I’ve got the board-book “The Bunny Rabbit Show!” by Sandra Boynton. Awesome book for little kids, the mental equivalent of a pumpkin whoopee pie for adults. Boynton has been writing kid’s books since the mid 1970’s, and she has written prolifically.
Boynton writes about hippos, bunnies, cows, barnyards, dogs, pajamas and even singing pigs; this specific book is about…dancing and singing bunny rabbits. The sing-song writing style makes the book enjoyable for child and parent each time its read. The book practically asks to be sung. At times, my daughter will almost dance along as I read the book aloud.
“The Bunny Rabbit Show!” is one of my favorites because I get to act like a kid again. Belting out atonal tunes with my semi-nasaly voice elicits the occasional growl from the dogs and peals of laughter from my daughter (probably eye rolls from my wife). At first I was embarrassed to sing a book to my daughter and really only read in a stilted manner. After reading a few books, I understood that my daughter doesn’t care (or know) if I’m a good singer, she just enjoys the time we spend reading/singing. In addition, if I have fun reading, my daughter has fun listening and learns that dad is a fun guy.
Beyond just singing the book to my daughter, I have enjoyed watching as she now discerns aspects of the book she couldn’t in the past. For instance, when she was 18mos, she just enjoyed the tuneless tune that I sung, but now, at two and a half, she picks out the ‘bunny rabbits’ that aren’t (chicken, duck, and pig).
The cacophony produced by reading this book causes only the most properly trained singers to cringe.