Yes, I’m talking about books again because I can’t let the passing of an exceptional children’s author and artist go by without paying my respects. As a child, I learned to count thanks to The Very Hungry Caterpillar. And if you ask my kids what children’s book they loved growing up – it wouldn’t be anything by Dr. Seuss – it’s Eric Carle’s Brown Bear book.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?
I see a red bird looking at me.
Red bird, Red bird, What do you see?
I see a yellow duck looking at me…
After the first 100 times reading this book to my kids at bedtime, two things happened – 1) I was pretty sick of it and 2) I memorized it word for word. This parenting trick came in handy when the kids got antsy in the back seat during long car rides. I’d recite these first few lines of Brown Bear, and they would calm down and join in. Sometimes, I would mess up the order on purpose, but the kids picked up on it every time.
(As a side note, I could also recite a mean Green Eggs and Ham).
So, what was so captivating? Was it the blue horse, the green frog, the purple cat, the white dog, the black sheep, or the goldfish? How about the beautiful illustrations and the rhythmic phrasing? Or was it just a cute brown bear with 20/20 vision?
I’d say – it was all of the above.
Thanks, Eric Carle, for teaching me to count and my kids how to read and for helping me make memories with my family that I won’t soon forget.
And by the way, I’m keeping this copy of Brown Bear, Brown Bear to read to my grandkids someday.