Nibble Nibble

Nibble Nibble by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Wendell Minor.

Yes, yes, I know that I should save this for Poetry Friday, but I just adore this book.  It is one of those that if I had gotten a galley copy of it, I would have kept it all for myself and not shared with my library. 

These five rabbit poems were first published in 1959.  Margaret Wise Brown’s poetry demonstrates what children’s poems should be about, being both accessible and broadening at the same time.  My favorite is Nibble Nibble Nibble which repeats and repeats using different heartbeat sounds.  Here is the opening stanza:

Nibble Nibble Nibble
Goes the mouse in my heart
Nibble Nibble Nibble
Goes the mouse in my heart
Nibble Nibble Nibble
Goes the mouse in my heart
And the mouse in my heart is

The structure of the poem is both simple and powerful, but it also allows children to jump right in and create their own poetry on the spot.  At the end of sharing this with my five-year-old, I was being told that Snap Snap Snap, Goes the crab in his heart.  And it went on and on with new sounds and new animals.  This is exactly what I want books and poetry to do for children, given them a form to hold on to and then the opportunity to make it their own and use their own imagination and creativity.

And then let’s talk about the art!  What makes this version special are the incredible paintings by Minor which capture rabbits in all of their cute, fuzzy glory.  His paintings are naturalistic and vivid, erasing all of those too saccharine bunnies from your mind, you return to what rabbits are all about.  Fur, long ears, and jumps.  Lovely stuff.  I want that painting of the end of summer rabbit next to the milkweed.  Sigh.  Makes me think of my childhood playing in the tall grass.  Perfection.

Share these poems, love the language, appreciate the artistry.  This one is an absolute winner.

The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds

The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds by Marisabina Russo.

Three sweet little white bunnies are tucked in bed, warm and cozy.  All is quiet while Mama and Daddy sit reading downstairs.  But then they hear an odd noise coming from upstairs.  “Sounds like the bunnies are not in their beds.”  The parent bunnies put the children back to bed again, resume their quiet time downstairs, but are again interrupted by noise from above.  This happens again and again with the parents getting more and more irate at the behavior.  The ending is a fun twist for children who also hate to go to bed.

I love many things about this book.  First, there are the quiet moments of the parents downstairs, reassuringly dull and normal for children who assume that once they are in bed the parents start having real fun.  Then there are the odd noises from above that lead to the parents heading upstairs and then the page turn occurs where children listening to the story have a chance to guess what is causing the ruckus this time.  Nicely done to create a little intrigue and participation.  I also appreciate that while the parents are very patient at first, they do hit the end of their rope and finally list all of the things in a loud voice (or at least in capital letters) that the little bunnies are not to do at bedtime. 

Add this one to a spring storytime on bunnies or your pajama storytime about heading to bed.  Preschoolers will enjoy it most of all.

(In the interest of full disclosure, this was sent to me by the publisher.)