Monday, January 12, 2009

The Bare Necessities, SNAP!

*I took this drawing off the fridge, but could't put it away just yet* This morning there was an email from a small ad-free magazine titled, Seeing the Everyday in my inbox with a quote I think explains a bit of how I feel today: The philosophy of “prosaics,” created by contemporary literary critic Gary Saul Morson, “. . . Questions whether the most important events may not be the most ordinary and everyday ones. Cloaked in their very ordinariness, the prosaic events that truly shape our lives—escape our notice.” In other words, the big milestones of life, important as graduations and job promotions are, may cause us to overlook what Morson calls “the infinitely numerous and apparently inconsequential ordinary ones, which taken together, are far more effective and significant.”

Monday morning we are back to our routine but that doesn't make the day less significant than the weekend. After preschool we'll return the library books that we've renewed as many times as possible. Snap! by Mick Manning, illustrated by Brita Granstrom and published by Frances Lincoln, is a wonderful read-aloud. My three-year-old insisted on shouting out the "SNAP!" part on every page everyday! The story starts with a fly that is eaten by a duckling, that is eaten by a pike.... You're familiar with the pattern I'm sure and that's why it works so well for little ones. Repitition, we love it!

Brita Granstrom's illustrations are a perfect match for the text with large full-spread pages- not too much detail and fabulous with its cut, torn and painted collage elements. She draws and colors outside bold black ink outlines, and much of the background is scribbly.

It's also simply fascinating for little ones to see one animal inside the stomach of another, "Ducking is in Pike's belly!... Pike is in fisherman's belly!" More like playing with Russian nesting dolls than a scientific diagram of the food chain. The ending is humorous but perhaps a little disconcerting for some as we see fisherman inside bear's belly with a quizzical expression. And, "LOOK! Another fly buzzing by..." What will eat that fly? We had a lot of fun with this book. On another note, I'm looking forward to Obama's inauguration and the change this country is expecting. The job layoffs continue and many of us have been scaling back, and redefining what is truly valuable to us. Are we joyfully getting back to the bare necessities of life?


  1. I love the contrasting heart-shaped lips over that very toothy smile!
    Snap! sounds like a fun book that I'll add to my library list.
    Bear-necessities, so true!

  2. I know that's a super-smile. M loves to draw.


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