Remember these books? Little Miss and Mr. Men books? I remember LOVING these as a child. I can’t go as far as telling you which was my favorite – like some people I know – but I did like them. But now when I read them … eh. There are so many other children’s books I like better. It’s always interesting to me when Nate likes a book and, well, not that I don’t like it, but just that I don’t get it.
Take for instance In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak.
Nate LOVES this book. It’s actually beyond love and into borderline obsession. I wouldn’t be surprised to find him in the middle of the night, flashlight under his blanket, pouring over this crazy tale of a baby who slips out of his clothes and into a cake batter being mixed up by cooks in the night kitchen. Long story short, the baby – okay his name is technically “Mickey” but around here we call him baby – escapes being baked, romps around naked in the night kitchen, flies an airplane made of dough, and ends up swimming through a milk bottle, crowing like a rooster, and sliding back into bed, fully dressed and the hero of the story. Because of Mickey, the last page says, we have cake every morning.
Why is this book so irresisible to Nate while I am like, “huh?” I don’t mind that the baby is naked through the book, though I admit it was a shock at first (and the book has seen its fair share of criticism about that). And I love a trippy story involving food as much as the next grownup. But when it comes down to it, there is something about this book that only children really get and enjoy. So am I just not full of childlike wonder anymore? I guess not, at least, not all the time (and not for Mickey — sorry, Maurice!) And neither are most people. But I think that’s what’s so amazing about having children — getting to experience that newness-of-all-things through being with them, that openness that is theirs alone.
So as for Mr. Clever?
Nate laughs whenever we get to this page. Because wearing glasses in bed is so funny? Because having two arms is so funny? Who knows? And I don’t care, as long as he’s enjoying it. I think we’ll soon be purchasing Mr. Bump.