Truly, reading is one of our favorite things to do with Joelle. She also reciprocates this joy which makes it even more fun. I’ll never forget the three of us laying on the floor of Joelle’s room (Joelle sandwiched between us) reading before bed. As a baby, we had to lay her on the floor because we were overly careful about her fragile neck. She was able to make it through three little board books at a very early age. Also, one of the only things that would make her stop crying as a tiny baby was the Moo, Baa, La, La, La book. I still have that book memorized from reciting it so many times. (…and when she’s crying in the car, you can’t exactly read.)

Despite all the glorious books we’ve read and now cherish, we’ve also stumbled upon some that truly makes us question if the author was high on something. Chris provides his commentary on two of the strangest below.
Exhibit 1: Mister Dog by Margaret Wise Brown

Mister Dog

I started out with the thought “hey, this is the author of Goodnight Moon so this one should be pretty good. So I probably looked past that the image on the front cover was a dog smoking a pipe. No biggie.

Then I read the first page to Joelle. It goes, “Once upon a time there was a dog named Crispin’s Crispian. He was named Crispin’s Crispian because–” (turn the page) “–he belonged to himself.” I was expecting a bit more of a story about Crispin, or Crispian, or some combination.

While each page is worth discussing, basically the gist of the story is that he decides to take a walk suddenly happening upon strange worlds. In the background of one picture we see this image:

I could not help but say out loud as I was going through the book with Joelle – “Is that a rabbit smoking in the background?” I was beginning to understand how Crispin’s Crispian found himself in new environments while only seeming to walk a few steps.

Anyway, he goes on to find a boy, who, believe it or not, also “belongs to himself”. The boy agrees to move into Crispin’s 2 story house and live there. Along the way Ms. Brown spends a full page (which is a lot in a kid’s book) to talk about how Crispin is a conservative (emphasis hers). Is this like Ayn Rand for 3 year olds or something? Worth the read – available for as low as $1.05 + shipping from Amazon.

Exhibit 2: Buster Climbs the Walls by Marc Brown

My memory of this one is a bit sketchy but this book is based on a TV show so I’m guessing something is lost in the translation. I remember Joelle looking at me in semi-alarm because I kept stopping abruptly when reading this one at the library. It’s because I CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHAT IS GOING ON. I recall something about a talking backpack and imaginary people who are egging him on but they aren’t illustrated.