Friday, February 8, 2013

The Spooky Old Tree (or the Power in Pictures) ...

I'm a little sad today because I have just discovered that one of my favorite antique shops, the Black Rose Antique Mall in Washington, PA, will be closing its doors, a Marshall's opening in its place. A Marshall's. As if there aren't enough of those crappy, cookie-cutter stores around already:(.

Several months ago, while shopping in the Black Rose, I picked up this old book, the images on the cover recalled from my childhood.

The memory of the book I had in my mind was some really great story about the little Berenstain Bears embarking from home on a journey to a mythic old tree, a veritable fun-house chock full of knights in armor, trick stairs, and a great sleeping bear that you most definitely don't want to wake up.

Here, instead, is a sample of how this Bright and Early reader reads: "Three little bears. / One with a light. One with a stick. One with a rope. / A spooky old tree. / Do they dare go into the spooky old tree? / Yes. They dare." How exciting.

The power of this book lies in its pictures, which are at once frightening and invigorating. My memory of the fun of this book is deeply rooted in the bears' visual journey.

There's a good lesson here for us busy parents. We shouldn't speed through the book so fast that the enjoyment of it is lost on our children. Let your kids get lost in the images on the page. Let them run with the bears. Let them climb into the portal of that spooky old tree. Let them run their little fingers over the paper, dig their nose into the book's spine. Those who love books love them because they developed, early on, a sensory relationship with them. Tactile.  Go on. Let them get their hands dirty. ~Alice

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