[personal profile] familyvalues
Rocking Owen to sleep just now for his morning nap, I was briefly overwhelmed, while holding him as he drifted off to sleep, and I marvelled at his little face, at how welcomed this boy was.

News of Audrey's pregnancy was greeted with nearly unanimous joy, Owen's birth was celebrated by at least tens, if not hundreds of people, and he continues to be adored by family members and dear friends of whom I simply don't think to number.

He's just a baby, but I do not take for granted your support, our loved ones' support. In some (many?) families like ours, extended relatives shun us or at least think we're too weird to really trust, and there is no strong social group or community. Owen was born into a giant puddle of love. He was born into strong community, into a great tangle of arms that will keep him safe and sound. We might be the core of that tangle, but that tangle supports us too.

I hope I've expressed my thanks to you adequately. I'm not sure it's possible to express it completely.


Mary reads Freight Train to Owen




Now here's a little book review:

I first read Freight Train, by Donald Crews, in the early 80s, when I was first working with infants and toddlers. I have it memorized, of course. The illustrations are old-school airbrushing, and just perfect, simple and colorful and bright without being simplistic. Donald Crews illustrates motion perfectly, night perfectly. I have never known a child who disliked this book, I've known a lot who have enjoyed it, and even more who have adored it.

It is Owen's first-ever favorite book. He's now 7 1/2 months old, and he'll bring me Freight Train and sit on the ground in front of it, or ask to get into my lap. I read it once, or (so far) up to five times in a row with him. Three times in a row is about average. He turns the pages as I finish a line, and I watch his eyes scan left to right*.

If you are stuck on a baby shower or new baby or first birthday book, go find the board book version of Freight Train. For kids who aren't eating or mauling their books anymore, look for the hardbound paper-page copy, if you're pretty sure they don't own it yet.

I've got lots of ideas for Best Picture Books Ever, feel free to ask. That is the best first picture book ever, but there are a lot more out there to follow up with.

*Literacy takes awhile to develop, and is a continual and gradual process. It moves from nomming on board books to sitting with them to turning pages and scanning in the right direction; when I worked with quite a lot of kids who had recently immigrated to the US from Israel, it was fascinating to watch them figure out that some books scanned left to right, and some right to left, and which those were.
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