I’ve mentioned this before, but some of my favorite places to shop for books are the gift shops in museums and attractions around town. More often than not, the selections are well curated gems that relate directly to the experience of the place. My favorite bookshelf is the one at the garden – I think they do a wonderful job of selecting well written and beautifully illustrated books about the natural world. The zoo, the history museum, the art museum – all of them offer relevant subject matter. I used to be bothered by the presence of gift shops at these places, but now I look at them differently. The girls don’t need a souvenir of every trip they make inside, but I never say no to at least looking at the bookshelves. They know me well, and have learned that I might say ‘no’ to lots of things, but rarely for a good book.
F put this theory into action on a trip to the art museum with her grandparents last fall – they are even easier sells than me. She chose this book – I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by David Catrow. The girls loved it the first few times they read it, but now they find it completely hysterical. The little boy (or girl? we disagree on this in our house) gets his/her hands on some paint, and the body art begins. Despite very clear instructions from mother, page by page, another body part is embellished with great strokes of color and pattern, dripping remnants around the room and throughout the house.
The structure of each page leads with a rhyme such as “Like an Easter egg, gonna paint my…” and the page is turned to the “Leg!”, drenched in even more color than the last appendage. The child vows again and again to be done with the paint, but the bare canvas of skin proves to be too much. Oh, the joy there is on our couch when we reach an almost fully painted kid with the exception of the still clean, slightly hard to reach rear end. “Well, I’m such a nut, gonna paint my…”
Funny, funny, funny. It’s funny to say ain’t over and over again. It’s funny to watch the dripping messes swirl around the pages. It’s funny to rhyme the parts of the body throughout. It’s a funny book for any kid, especially those kind that battle daily between the rules of the house, and the irresistible temptation to break them – just a tiny bit, or with big, broad brushes. I might just know one of those.
Find these titles at your favorite local independent bookstore. Happy reading!