Sunday, February 01, 2009

Children's Book Monday

I know, I know. I said I was putting CBM on hiatus... and I do have this one on my shelf in the sidebar, but I simply had to post a review for you as well...

Why? Because I've finally found it! The perfect book to read to your children when another little one is on the way...

Do You Know What I'll Do?
by Charlotte Zolotow
Pictures by Garth Williams

Have you despaired, as I have, of finding a book to read to your children that doesn't include jealousy of a new sibling, and the portrayal of tantrums to get the attention back that is now spent cooing over the sweet baby? Perhaps there are some other good ones out there, but what I found in a second-hand bookstore over our *second Christmas* break has stolen my heart forever.

First, Charlotte Zolotow is one of my favorite authors- I've reviewed one of her others here, and lo and behold, Garth Williams, one of my favorite illustrators, was also the illustrator for that book.

With the simplest, sparest of prose, Zolotow paints the picture of a big sister's desire to share all of her experiences with her little brother. William's beautiful, simple drawings depict the dark eyes and round limbs we've come to know and love from his work on Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, and the Little House on the Prairie series.

I love the short, fine hair blowing in the wind as the little girl picks flowers to share with her brother. Her expectant eyes as she holds a bucket out the window to catch the rain in a pail to water his plants. Her front leg kicking out in a happy walk home from a party, where she has chosen a piece of cake with the candle still in it to share with him.

There is an updated version of this book, illustrated by Javaka Steptoe- the prose is the same, but the illustrations are not, of course. My preference is the 1958 Garth William's version, for its softness and simplicity of color. So look carefully [here is a link] as it is out of print and can only be bought used, as you can see from the wear and tear on my own cover picture. [Also be aware that there is an abridged version, made for kindergarten classrooms to accompany a reading on tape. While it includes the highlights of the original story, it is much shorter.]

I'm hoping and praying that each one of you who looks for this book may find it... whether you have a little one on the way or not, it is a wonderful lesson in desiring the best for someone; in looking around with the eyes of a giver every moment of the day, and in longing to see true joy in another's eyes because of simple thoughtfulness.

So now, the final page... I've wrestled with myself whether or not to tell you what it says. The side of me - the one that wants you to experience it yourself as you are reading, so that your voice may crack as your hand steals up to cover your heart - that side won out. I'll just share the picture, shall I?

Happy hunting! And happy, happy reading...

11 fellow travelers shared:

Amy said...

thank you so much for this recommendation! i figured out pretty quickly that sibling love and care for one another is rare in books and media these days. i have three children and this book will be a great addition to our library. i was able to get one for $10 shipping included from the link you included in your post. God bless!

-J said...

Thank you! I've ordered a copy for my 6 and 4 year old nieces who are expecting a little brother. Your book recommendations often end up in their weekly library stacks. :-) Thanks for helping be an involved aunt from afar.

Meredith@MerchantShips said...

I must have it!

Oh, what are the odds of finding it at my nearest thrift store soon?

Holly said...

Oh-that book looks wonderful. Thank you! Holly

Andrea said...

oh I will have to hunt for this book for sure!! We have a book (used) that is a Zolotow/Williams collaberation, and I LOVE it. My favorites as well.
Like you, I dislike the books that "prepare" a sibling for a new baby--why we've never had tantrums and jealousy over a sweet, new, warm baby, only the strong instinct to care and mother this little one. I think this book will only add to those feelings...can't wait to check it out. Thanks for the links for the *hunt*. =)

Anna said...

Dear Elise,

I've already added this to our library list - thank you! It looks beautiful! The last picture reminds me so much of how my girls are with Jonathan.

They love him so much. Yet people are always telling them "Just wait 'til he's older and getting into all of your stuff! Then maybe you'll think differently!" Isn't that awful?

We try and encourage love between *all* of our children, regardless of the stage/age that they are at.

I think that this book will help us in that encouragement. :)


henryteachers said...

That sounds absolutely wonderful Elise! I hope I can find a copy, just in time for our new little one. I hope you had a wonderful trip to see family and are enjoying your newest addition.
Love ya,

Anna said...

Got it from the library today.

Love it. :)

Anonymous said...

thank you...I bought this right away. Thanks for sharing the end picture too :-)).

I'm in Atlanta with our 5 little ones (B, B, G and B/G twins)! It is beautiful to see our oldest boy (6) loving on his new babies.
Mary Brooke
- your blog is VERY sweet and encouraging to me_

Erna said...

I just came by today to go through some of your book recommendations and make some reservations at the library. :0) Thanks for doing your "Children's Book Monday" in the past and for sharing your Shelfari book shelf with us! Be blessed today! (I just realized that my Labels for my new blog mimic yours because I used Ecclesiastes in my heading and as the base of my blog. Oops!)

Pam said...

Wow how cool to see a Charlotte Zolotow book! I do like her so much. I agree too about Garth's illustrations. Takes me back to the 3 times through of reading the Little House books series to the big kids, then next ones, then youngers!

I will keep my eyes open for these. thanks

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