Sunday, July 10, 2011

When Chicka Chicka clicked

When A turned two back in September, I thought Chicka Chicka Boom Boom would be the perfect gift. I knew from plenty of trials with Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and its sequels that she was a Bill Martin, Jr. fan; she was getting older and becoming ready for longer texts and for the alphabet; and what kid wouldn't be attracted by Lois Ehlert's simple, boldly colored shapes?

She wasn't into it. I suspect that she mostly just wasn't into anything unfamiliar; she had her favorites, and why read some strange new thing for the first or second time when you can read a beloved Maisy book for the seventy-second time? (I told you she liked bold colors.) Whatever the reason, CCBB skit-skat-skoodle-doot-flip-flopped.

Well, now A is two and three quarters. (Credit for that precision goes to her five-and-a-half-year-old sister.) This weekend, on a whim, I pulled CCBB out of the book bin. Early in the first read-through, she was answering my "chicka chickas" with "boom booms," and when we reached the end of the alphabet's ascent up the tree, she jumped in with, "Now I know my ABC; next time won't you sing with me?" On the alphabet's way down, she was fascinated with the crying k (the letter is shown with a tear dripping from its top).

In fact, when we reached as-yet-unscathed k in its first appearance on the second read-through, she stopped me. "Let me show you something," she said, and turned the pages until she found the crying k. She flipped back and forth, showing herself and me that k and crying-k were the same character (in every sense of the word).

The right book for the right child at the right time? We got there eventually.

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