My kids (and most others) seem to be torn – on the one hand, they want to grow up quickly so they can do fun things like drive, attend classes for older kids, and boss other people around. On the other hand, they want to be the baby of the family and have all the fun and no responsibility. These two, very different, picture books both address the good side of growing up.
The Little Scarecrow Boy is a lovely book by Margaret Wise Brown (yes, the author of the wonderful classic Goodnight Moon), illustrated by David Diaz. The brightly colored illustrations with vivid detail accent a lovely story about a scarecrow boy who wants to go out into the field with his father to scare the crows. But each day the father says No, little boy. You can’t go. You’re not fierce enough to scare a crow. Wait till you grow”.
But one day the little scarecrow boy tiptoes out of his house before his parents awake, and goes out to the field. His father has taught him six scary faces to frighten the crows, and he tries them each in turn to scare the crows away from the corn. The illustrations of the faces is wonderful – the illustrator has a wonderful knack for scarecrow faces! The scarecrow boy is so proud when he can finally scare a crow and show his father he is grown up enough to help, and his father is so proud of him for learning the six faces. The joy of achieving his goal shines in the Scarecrow boy’s face, and is infectious – we were all so happy for him. It is wonderful to finish a book smiling!
Pauline is a sweet book about a fuzzy-eared weasel, written and illustrated by Georg Hallensleben. Pauline lives in a beautifully painted tree with her parents, and when she asks to go down to the ground, they tell her she isn’t big enough yet. One day, Pauline falls out of the tree and ends up becoming friends with a young elephant named Rabusius. They play together, and she shows her parents she is grown up enough to play out of the tree. When Rabusius is captured by hunters, Pauline has to figure out a way to help him escape, and she uses her imagination and a lot of bravery – she has really grown up! The whole jungle throws a wonderful party to celebrate Pauline saving Rabusius! Another book where you put it down with a smile on your face.
Both books held the attention of all three of my children (3, 6, 8 ), and I found them lovely as well. The illustrations and the storylines of both are equally wonderful, which can be a rare combination.