Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This little piggie goes...

One of our daughters came home from school earlier this year and announced that one of her teachers had decided to stop using shampoo. She wasn't able to provide enough detail about the reasons behind this decision or the alternative method of hair cleansing selected by the teacher so we were unable to seriously assess the merits of this decision. We agreed that it's best to refrain from judgment in circumstances where you're lacking the facts, even in circumstances such as this one that so easily lend themselves to stinkin' jokes and greasy judgments. This reminded me of a humanities class I took in college in which the professor showed a tiny squirt of toothpaste, the size of a baby pea, and insisted that is the amount she used to brush her teeth each day and we should all do the same. Whatever their reasons, people clearly approach matters of hygiene in different ways. Though generally less principled, kids vary in their reactions to cleanliness as well. Many toddlers try to avoid bath time. Maybe it's because it's often the last step before bedtime and they figure it makes sense to get a head start on delaying the process. Maybe it's because some kids are afraid of the water. In our home, bath time was a joyous time in toddlerhood but became a challenge later on. In those days, I am reasonably sure the concern that bath or shower time would conflict with television viewing or game playing was the real issue. As our girls adolesced, they began to appreciate the importance of regular showers and we never have to remind them to take theirs anymore. Deodorant, teethbrushing, hairbrushing and handwashing still require the odd reminders. Gross, I know.

If you're at the stage where the child in your life is trying everything to avoid bath time, try pinning him or her down before bath time and reading John Segal's Pirates Don't Take Baths together. The story presents a fun conversation between a child trying to get out of bath time and a mom who has a quick and clever answer for every excuse. It's pretty much a battle of wits with mother and child being well matched in creativity and the illustrations are so much fun! After a little cuddling followed, of course, by cleansing, you might want to reunite and follow-up by reading the Margaret Wise Brown/Clement Hurd classic, The Runaway Bunny, together for a perfect end to a lovely evening. Your child gets to hear another wonderful story and you get to introduce your child to yer another parent who has a quick and clever answer for everything!

If you and the child in your life love this book, there are a few things you should do. First, take a look at the author's blog and website. Most authors and illustrators have at least one or the other these days and they're often amazing destinations that enable kids to relate reading and fun while they learn about the books, authors and illustrators they love. You never know what you might learn. Had I read through John Segal's blog before writing this post, I'd have seen that John had declared September 19 to be Talk Like a Pirate Day (in honor of this book) and that would have led me to write an entirely different post because I have a daughter who defaults to pirate-speak with some regularity. No matter! The second thing to do (maybe even the first but I'm trying not to be pushy) is to head on over to the Voting Site for the Children's Choice Book Awards and encourage that child to cast a vote. This book is a finalist for Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year. Of course, if you followed my first piece of advice, you'd have headed over to the Voting Site anyway because John Segal has an awesome call to voting action on the homepage of his site and who could resist a precious pig?! Click here to take a look. Happy Voting!

This is the first post in my quest to blog about each finalist for the 2012 Children's Choice Book Awards. One down, twenty-nine to go. To find out more about the Children's Choice Book Awards, click here. And to vote, click here. And here's a fun fact for you - the award for this category (Kindergarten to 2nd Grade Book of the Year) will be presented at the Children's Choice Book Awards gala on May 7 by Marc Brown, creator of the Arthur books and television series.

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