Missouri Building Blocks: “The Wonderful Book”

Hand small children a book, and you never know what they will do with it; they may wear it as a hat, try to eat it, or even (gasp) open it up and enjoy the thrills inside. Exploring the many ways to handle books is an important step in the process of growing to love reading, although it can be difficult for adults who want to protect the beloved treasures. I suggest you put that copy of “Pippi Longstocking” that your dad read to you each night on a high shelf, grab some nearly indestructible board books, and then act out Leonid Gore’s “The Wonderful Book.”

The tale begins when a rabbit finds a mysterious red object in the forest. The forest animals use this object in a variety of humorous ways until a little boy picks it up and reads the story inside to the entire crew.

Yes, we librarians tend to hold a special place in our hearts for books about books, but my favorite element of this story is the playful creativity. How many different ways can you use the same item? I caught myself picking up the closest item, a pencil, and imagining its many uses: back-scratcher, mustache, hair-holder, or, hey, maybe a writing utensil. Magic!

For more fun:

  • Share other books that encourage you to “think outside the box.”  Some of my favorites are:

Not a Box” and “Not a Stick” by Antoinette Portis
It Looked Like Spilt Milk” by Charles Shaw
What Can You Do With a Paper Bag?” by Judith Cressy

  • Share Susan Dailey’s rhyme “Books” celebrating, well, you can probably guess what.

Big books, little books (Hold hands out wide; bring together.)
Short books, tall (Hold one hand above other; spread apart.)
Thin books, fat books (Hold thumb and pointer close together; spread apart.)
I love them all! (Place hand over heart.)

This is my book; it will open wide, (Palms together; open outwards.)
To show the pictures that are inside. (Point to one palm.)
I read about a ball so big and round. (Make ball shape with hands.)
It gets tossed in the air and rolled on the ground. (Toss imaginary ball in air, roll arms.)
I read about an umbrella to keep me dry, (Put hands together above head.)
When the raindrops fall from the cloudy sky. (Flutter fingers downwards.)
I read about a kitty with a loud, loud purr. (Say, “Meow.”)
I’d love to stroke her soft, warm fur. (Make stroking motion.)

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