Tuesday, May 29, 2007

On the Shoulders of Giants

Being a librarian my baby shower was a book shower. I often smile inside about having one of the finest children's libraries for the under 3 set thanks to the amazing teacher-librarians I work for; then I think of Mad and Kittenpie and sort of eat my words. So, let me say this. I love our children's books and I love storytelling.

Every once in a while I want to write a book about all the people who have given us books. The feeling it gives me to be with the books and my children. It always seems to me like about five hundred souls are all crowded in a little child's room filling it with love and thought. Authors, illustrators and the gift-givers piled high enough to fill the room. Like college students in a phone booth or a VW Bug. Then I think about authors like David Weisner and Jon Muth and I sort of eat my words.

Both pman and I read a lot of stories each day. Our repertoire is different and our performances, too. Yet, we are equally good. This is a rare occurence since the main thing that characterises our relationship is our disparity. I'm good at roasting meat, he's the salad chef. He's an athlete and I'm a workhorse. He's a speed reader and I format truly excellent to do lists. I'm good with money, he's wild with a credit card. Anyway, we're different.

But we are both good at all our stories. I am sure you all are, too. Storytelling is a great leveller. I have come to believe that, in fact, we don't ever learn anything about storytelling. It is in us. It is of us. Like many cultures believe it is natural. As I laid about today reading My Mama Says in my inimitable way I felt so good. I sounded like my Dad. I remember how my father used to tell me the Story of Babar in a beautiful, lively manner with barely any bit of performance or range of characterisation. In his cool, compelling way it was pure adventure to me. Those moments together, noses tucked behind the pages of a storybook, voices thrown about to create little dramas. Those are the giant shoulders I stand on as I inflect.

True love.


Blogger Mad Hatter said...

Yes! Each time I read a book that was a gift, the giver is in my head.

As for the rest, pure love Mo-Wo, pure love.

8:24 a.m.  
Blogger Mrs. Chicky said...

Can I come sit at your feet sometime and have you read a story to me? Please?

9:09 a.m.  
Blogger NotSoSage said...

It's so true. That's why I love when people put little messages in the books they gift...lest we forget.

I would give an arm to be the storyteller my dad is.

6:06 p.m.  
Blogger kittenpie said...

I actually asked my friend to throw me the same shower I had intended for Lisa B. : bring your favourite book from childhood, and write a little bit in it about why you loved it so. Talk about treasures... And I think it lets the child get to know that community of adults in a new and different way as she grows and reads them all.

I do love storytime.

8:38 a.m.  

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