For the Future Generation of Geeks: Arnold Lobel

A children’s book may seem an odd thing to post about here, but bear with me.  As I have mentioned before, one of my favorite things to do at work is look for new and interesting things to read, and since I spend most of my time in the children’s section I come across quite a few interesting picture books. (If for no other reason than I can flip through the whole book in about a minute)  This particular book I actually had to check out, since I was so surprised there even was a new book by this master storyteller. (He died quite a few years ago)  I’m sure a good number of those reading this were raised on books like Frog and Toad are FriendsThe Frogs and Toads all Sang isn’t a Frog and Toad book, but rather is a book of illustrated poems the author hand-made and gave to a family friend, recently rediscovered by the author’s daughter.  Just to give you an idea of how funny they can be here is the first poem:

“We are going to have a party,”

The frogs and toads all sang.

“We’ve got lemonade with ice cubes

And paper lamps to hang.”

The ladies wore long dresses,

And the gentlemen wore pants.

The orchestra was ready,

So they all began to dance.

They danced in the meadow.

They danced in the street.

They danced in the lemonade.

Just to cool their feet.

 So how do I defend enthusing about a picture book on a serious (or semi-serious anyway) blog?  The simple answer is I am looking to the future of geekdom.  It is my opinion that the vital first step to becoming a geek, of whatever type, is a love of reading that opens up so many strange and new worlds.  Now, obviously, this doesn’t always come through books first.  I know quite a few people that got into reading because of the Star Wars movies for example, but it just seems easiest to start with the books.  I see a lot of kids books every day at work.  More and more of them are inane stories that, while fun, do nothing to instill the wonder at books I cherish in my own life.  Arnold Lobel’s books did that for me, among many others.  I still laugh every time I come across a Frog and Toad book at work, remembering such adventures as when Frog and Toad bake cookies, and then come up with ever more complicated ways to avoid eating them all in a single sitting.  In the end Frog finally gives the cookies to the birds, to preserve his willpower.  Toad then leaves, responding that Frog can keep his willpower; he’s going home to bake a cake.

For those of you with kids, read to them.  Read with them. More importantly have them read good books.  The geek universe depends on it.

[tags]Children’s Books, Arnold Lobel, Frog and Toad[/tags]

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