WILD ABOUT BOOKS
2004 | Written by Judy Sierra | Illustrated by Marc Brown
This book may not have been one of my childhood favourites, but, when I discovered it way back in 2005, my inner kid declared it an instant favourite. I first picked it out for my nephew and have since bought it for other family members, friends’ kids and, of course, my own children.
Both my kids know this as mommy and daddy’s favourite book and one of them will choose it as his/her bedtime book when trying to butter us up. They love it too – but after mom and dad insisting on reading it every night for several months, they did start to ask, “Can’t we read something else tonight?”
I’m a sucker for children’s poetry, the sillier the better, so Judy Sierra’s rhymes and obvious nod to Dr. Seuss make this an obvious favourite for me and many other picture book fans. Wild about Books has received several awards, including Mom’s Choice Platinum Award, E.B. White Read Aloud Award and Book Sense Book of the Year.
The story is about a librarian, Molly McGrew, who drives her bookmobile into the zoo. She reads to the animals who then discover a love of reading (and eventually writing):
Forsaking their niches, their nests, and their nooks
They went wild, simply wild, about wonderful books.
Molly finds books for all the animals: “Giraffes wanted tall books and crickets craved small books, while geckos could only read stick-to-the-wall books.” Molly “even found waterproof books for the otter, who never went swimming without Harry Potter.”
She has to teach the animals how to care for books, for the “Bear’s love of books was completely outrageous; they licked all the pictures right off of the pages.”
The animals decide they have stories to tell too. My favourite page is where the bugs are scribbling haiku and “The scorpion gave each a stinging review.” The Giant Hissing Cockroach’s haiku I can barely read without cracking up:
Hiss hiss hiss hiss hiss –
Hiss hiss hiss hiss hiss hiss hiss
Hiss hiss hiss hiss hiss.
The cherry on the cake – when my kids yell out the scorpion’s stinging review with me: “Redundant.” (In my house, it’s more like “RE-DUN-DANT!!!”) Added bonus, my 5 and 7 year olds now know the meaning of redundant.
While researching the book for this article, I discovered the Random House iPad app for Wild about Books with 16 interactive scenes from the book with optional narration – from making monkeys flip to bears burp. My inner child instantly wanted to buy it, but my outer adult promptly replied “That’s just silly,” followed by a “Well… I am writing this article… So it would be research…” That I had already finished writing the article? Minor detail.
Our contributor: Kim Abrahamse has been a writer and editor since 2000. Currently she is working as a freelance writer, editor and web content producer, as well as an SEO consultant for small agencies, businesses and solopreneurs. Kim is a perpetual student – she is always taking a class of one kind or another and has taken many many writing classes ranging from technical writing to travel writing to copywriting to writing for children. She reads A LOT, has an embarrassing attachment to movie popcorn and has recently started writing children’s poetry. Her children (and other people’s children) provide endless material for poems – like when her daughter declared her purple chenille sweater her “ninja sweater” it inspired a poem or when her son’s classroom chick Lucky miraculously hatched, it inspired her poem “Plucky Lucky.”