Don’t judge a book by its cover?
I have since stopped believing in that saying, despite it being drummed into my head by various teachers back when I was young(er) and impressionable. When it comes to books, especially children’s books, those with attractive covers are the ones I pick up over others. Biased? Missing out on good reads? Superficial? Maybe. But when I have impatient family members, time in the library becomes very limited. And with an enormous (read: dizzying & overwhelming) selection of books before me, and an active 5yo who pulls out book after book from the shelves and running over to me repeat “Mama, can we borrow this book?” a gazillion times, I have to adapt by quickly picking out books with attractive covers, then skimming through the contents of the books before heading to the checkout section.
And as it turns out, many children’s books with attractive covers are good reads as well. And once in a while, we find a platinum-diamond gem amongst these books.
Needless to say, the superficial me chose this book because of the cover. The illustrations on the cover alone called out to me. “Bring me home?”, the book beseeched, and I gladly obliged. The book introduced Otter, and her best friend, the stuffed Teddy. Together, they opened a Toast restaurant and ended up with … Otter, however, is already famous online. You can read more about her here. The humourous story and the beautiful illustrations made the kids and I spend a longer time poring over this book. Megan laughed because Otter was funny. Matthew laughed at the mis-spellings of Otter’s signs and notices she put up at her toast restaurant, and the funny antics Otter and Teddy got up to.
These 2 pages of the book were truly amazing! The beautiful colours and amount of detail turned it into a mini-game for us – to spot misplaced stuffed toys in funny poses. And not to mention what Matthew quickly pointed out – mis-spelled words at the top right side of the page on the right. I cringed and could imagine myself fainting if I ever come home to this mess! I love Sam Garton’s drawings! And check out the final, hilarious moment of the book – on the last page. Classic!
And the true guide to the readability and success of a children’s book? The kids themselves. Matthew was seen reading through the book again, and chuckling to himself as he re-read the story and admired the pictures. And pointing out Otter’s mis-spelled words to us again, then laughing away merrily. Yeah, he is my funny guy.
Good or poor reads, there is always something to learn from the books. And to have the kids look forward to their reading time at night with me is something I will cherish as the countdown has already started …