14 May 2010

What's Gnu?

I fancy myself a discriminating reader. To earn a designation as a favored author, your book must grab me from page one. I hate the formulaic, the predictable, or the bland. Which makes me, philosophically speaking, eligible to be President of the Sandra Boynton fanclub.

Surprised? Oh, yes - I mean the dancing hippos Sandra Boynton: the singing chickens, chanting piggies, train-drivin' dog Sandra Boynton. Her work, described on her website as a "jaunty confibulation of exuberant irrelevance," is uncomplicatedly joyful.

I am a grown-up (by most measures), and you may be wondering how it is that a children's book author tops my list. I could defend myself by reminding my readers that I am a children's librarian. However, I became a true fan long before. I worked in a mildly pretentious bookstore when I came across Grunt: Pigorian Chant (1996). My seriously over-serious friend and I sneaked it onto the store stereo, and as we followed along in the book, we laughed until we cried. It was a measure of the quirky good fun, that my classical-musician colleague was as completely tickled as I was. Let me note for non-Boyntonites that no one else in the store appeared the wiser and probably could not understand why we were laughing like loons. The music was impeccable Gregorian Chant, beautifully done. Combined with the hilarious text/context, it gained something, as they say, in the translation. Pig Latin, with chicken antiphon.

The music-book combos are my favorites, with high-quality music and Boynton's superbly silly text and illustration. Such illustrious artists as B.B. King, Neil Sedaka, Davy Jones, Allison Krauss and the Spin Doctors collaborate in these delightful frolics. However, you can indulge in a range of books and products featuring the cheerful humor and fetching visual simplicity of Boynton's buoyant barnyard herd.

Your kids will love the silly situations and the consistently uplifting tone of the these enchanting books. I bet they won't be the only ones laughing and singing.

No comments:

Post a Comment