Katy and Lowly

6 Sep

I don’t have many memories of being read to as a young child.  It must have happened, though, because as I became older I was an avid reader.   I have MANY memories of spending time with novels like A Wrinkle in Time, Ballet Shoes, the Great Brain series, and, my all-time favorite, The Westing Game (which I still re-read about once a year, even though I know whodunnit!).  In fact, I won a contest in third grade to create a reading “slogan” for the school library, and my slogan was printed (complete with my art) on a t-shirt (which I still have somewhere, if I can find it I’ll take a picture and post it).  My slogan: A Book a Day Keeps the Lazies Away.

There are two picture books, though, that I KNOW I loved as a young child, because I can remember poring over the detailed illustrations.

  • Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton: I loved following Katy’s route through town as she cleared a path for other vehicles to get through.  Katy also meant a lot to me because we shared the same name — seriously, my real name is Mary but my parents nicknamed me Katie and I was called that until my 5-year-old self informed my Kindergarten teachers that my name was Mary and insisted I be called that.
  • What Do People Do All Day by Richard Scarry: Again, highly detailed illustrations of the townspeople going about their business.  I had a nice experience with this book recently while babysitting my friends’ son, as we spent a good hour playing “I Spy” with the pictures and talking about what the characters were doing.  I still love Huckle and Lowly Worm.

I can’t really use either of these in storytime as the detailed illustrations don’t really lend themselves to group reading (and one doesn’t really have much of a “story”, but is mostly vignettes).  Both are still in print, though, and perfect for one-on-one sharing (as my experience with my friends’ son clearly shows).

I’m looking forward to the book Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Children’s Book, where Anita Slivey has compiled responses to this question from a variety of people: “What Children’s Book Changed the Way You See the World?”  The book doesn’t come out til October, but you can get a sneak preview here.

What picture books do you remember from your childhood?  What about them stands out?

One Response to “Katy and Lowly”

  1. Melissa September 6, 2009 at 10:49 pm #

    Mary! You named my TOP favorite book from my childhood–Katy and the Big Snow! I remember spending hours pouring over the maps, tracing Katy’s route and figuring out what all the buildings were. You’re right that these aren’t the best choices for storytime, but they are great for sharing one-on-one, and there’s so many great opportunities for dialogic reading with them both. I didn’t know Anita Silvey was coming out with another book, thanks for the tip, I will go put it on hold right now!

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