Day 10 of Picture Book Month is today! We've had some awesome picture book choices featured here on the Bookshelf, if I do say so myself, and today's is no exception. It's one that both Sprout and I adore, and when he saw it on the shelf at the library again today there was no way he was checking out without this in our book bag.
I love books about books, it's just a personal weakness of mine. One of the benefits of this type of narrative for preschoolers is that it connects the dots. Like other activities that they see modeled in the literature they read, having a book about a character who indulges in literary pursuits just validates what they themselves are doing. There are fantastic titles out there about bookmobiles, about libraries and even bookstores, and then there are books just about the sheer joy and passion of reading itself.
And that's exactly what we have in Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I Don't) by Barbara Bottner. Our heroine Missy thinks her school librarian, Miss Brooks, is loopy for loving books to utter distraction. The woman adores all kinds of titles, and she wants Missy to love reading too -- but Missy's equally determined that she won't like books, no way no how. But then along comes something "truly terrifying": Book Week. Everyone in the class must choose a favorite book and create a presentation about it, complete with costume. Missy figures she's sunk, because there are no books that tickle her fancy that much. Or are there?
Michael Emberley illustrated this little gem, and I especially love the way he captures the title character. She's a short-skirt-and-boots kind of gal, with hair that's wild and full of flowers and braids. Miss Brooks is the kind of librarian all kids should have, and many lucky ones do, someone who's not afraid to dress up like a turkey and read Thanksgiving books, or become a Wild Thing when they're reading Sendak. Her wacky ways alone don't persuade Missy, but her persistence does -- in one of the innumerable stacks of books Miss Brooks sends home, Missy finds a title that suits her fancy just fine. Proving once again my own personal credo: there's a book for everyone, you just have to keep looking.
Sprout loves all the books this title alludes to (look for Miss Brooks as a Hungry Caterpillar in my personal favorite scene). The only problem is, we often end up checking out even more books when we bring this one home, because as Sprout says, "Miss Brooks loves books and I do too!"
Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I Don't) by Barbara Bottner, published by Alfred A. Knopf