Picture Book Love #5: Celebrating picture books that are just too good not to gush over.
“Ms. Gelson have you blogged about that book yet?” I am asked this question about six times a day. I have been asked this question since last week. I am asked this question everyday at least a half a dozen times because it is basically the class consensus that I am holding the book Stuck by Oliver Jeffers hostage. I have the book at home to blog about it and share how much we absolutely adored it. Therefore, I am preventing it from being on our “New Books” stand in the classroom where it could be fought over daily so that children could relive their joy independently or in small groups (I’m pretty sure this book is one of those books that has a child magnet in it – no child can be within 2 meters of it without being lured closer and closer). All of my excuses do not suffice. I have extreme guilt. I have been busy but I know that doesn’t count because this book needs to return to our classroom NOW so we can give it the love it deserves! So here we go:
WE LOVE THIS BOOK. LOVE OF THE “READ IT AGAIN” CHANT KIND. LOVE AS IN WE LAUGHED, WE CRIED, WE ALMOST DIED. LOVE. LOVE LOVE.
Why? It’s not because we are already Oliver Jeffers fans. (Even though we are) It’s not because this book is about some fantastically amazing creature or place. No monsters. No wild beasts. No magic. It is beautifully simple really. Just a boy. A kite. And a tree. But Jeffers weaves little boy logic with the right dose of the absurd and creates a picture book that sends children into laughing mania. Beautiful shout out laughter that makes you laugh even more when shared. This book read aloud in a classroom of book lovers is a force to be reckoned with.
The plot? Floyd gets his kite stuck in a tree. He can’t pull it down so he throws his shoe at it. It also gets stuck. So he throws his other shoe. Stuck. Up went Mitch the cat. (He was tossed. He didn’t amble up of his own accord in case you might be wondering) Again, stuck. When Floyd fetches a ladder and ends up tossing it into the tree in the attempt to dislodge everything, a few students fell over. Really! “Why would he throw it? Oh man!” This tossing of items up the tree continues. When the kitchen sink goes up, we really were losing it. “He’s crazy!” “My God!” “At least it’s just a kitchen sink!” More things end up in the tree. Much larger and seemingly impossible things. The absurdity did us in. We were bowled over by giggles. I heard a few, “Please. Make it stop,” requests. Almost as if I was tickling each child without mercy. But no, I was just reading the book!
When Floyd finds the saw . . . Well let’s just say that his decision completely put us over the edge. The laughter engulfed us. Nobody could get a word out. When the book ended and the breathing slowly returned to normal, the unsolicited reviews began:
“That’s the best book ever! A 10 out of 5!”
“That book was awesome. The most awesome. The best book in the world!”
“I loved it infinity and beyond!”
So mission accomplished. Book is blogged. It is going in my bag to return to the classroom tomorrow. My prediction? I will be begged to read it immediately again and then it will travel from desk to desk spreading picture book joy.