November 11, 2014 | post a comment | Betsy Woodman
Google “the book is dead, long live the book” and you come up with 178 million results, which suggests that the thought is not highly original. Still, has anyone asked preschoolers what they think about the subject?
I went to a birthday party on Saturday for a pair of three-year-olds, one of whom was my granddaughter, Clara. Mercifully for her parents, the party was held at the other kid’s house. I must say, both sets of parents went all out to give three generations of guests a good time.
For the adults, the board groaned with glazed ham and spinach frittata and salad and fruit and free-flowing prosecco punch. The kids got their choice of chocolate or vanilla cake or cookies that looked like miniature green-eggs-and-ham. Helium balloons floated all over the place, and there were banners and paper hats and other classic birthday party stuff.
In addition, two themes tied the decorations and the entertainment together: books and cars.
Spread across the lawn, like cheese and dessert stations at a fancy buffet, were tables with tubs of children’s books, identified by type or by author: ABC books, Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, etc.
There were also collections of cars of many types and sizes. Inside, toy cars decorated the gifts and the windowsills. Outside, cardboard box cars served as the vehicles for a race.
A blow-up plastic bus provided a tent for introverts who wanted a little privacy (in order to read, of course.)
An honest-to-God truck filled with straw bales contained more tubs of books, so a child could sit on top of the straw and be read to by one of the many willing adults standing around for just that purpose.
Any time a kid threatened to get out of control, a grown-up would start reading the kid’s favorite book aloud and presto, crisis averted! Who knew that books were such good weapons of mass distraction?
If these children love books when they grow up as much as they do now, we don’t have to worry about the death of the book for a while. Maybe the car will go first.