"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Children's books by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

  • Earlier this year I was introduced to Amy Krouse Rosenthal's excellent and charming adult books: Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life (2005) and Textbook (2016) by Deb Nance at Reader Buzz. Deb said that Encyclopedia was one of her top twenty books. She reads a lot so I knew it had to be good. I was completely smitten with the unique way that Amy Krouse Rosenthal wrote about her life, in an encyclopedia style (alphabetized, of course). After completing it I immediately set about trying to find her sequel memoir: Textbook. While I waited for it to arrive at the library I learned some very sad news. Amy Krouse Rosenthal had died in 2017 of cancer. My reading of Textbook therefore was a very different experience for me compared to reading her earlier book, the experience was a lot more poignant.

As I was searching around to find out some information about Amy Krouse Rosenthal, an author who was dead even before I heard about her, I learned:

  • An NPR book critic said that Rosenthal was "preternaturally cheerful."
  • She was a prolific writer with more than 30 books to her name.
  • Rosenthal loved experimenting with different media, and blending the virtual and physical worlds. One can still contribute to projects on-line that she started when writing Textbook.
  • In 1997 she made a 2-minute recording of many things she is thankful for. You can listen to it here.
  • Months before she died she penned a personal ad for her husband, Jason, seeking a new life-partner for him. In the piece, Rosenthal announced her illness, celebrated her family and sought a new partner for her husband, Jason. She finished the essay — difficult to write through a haze of drugs and illness — on Valentine's Day, she said, "and the most genuine, non-vase-oriented gift I can hope for is that the right person reads this, finds Jason, and another love story begins.

When I learned that Rosenthal had published many, many children's books I decided to read as many of them as I could find at my local libraries. So far I've read seven and loved them. Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • Every one of her books that I've read has been illustrated by a different artist, as you can see from the photo of the books above. It caused to stop and wonder at the process of locating an illustrator for her books and what particular qualities she was hoping to highlight through the art.
  • Of the books I've read, I suspect that Choo-Choo School will be my grandsons favorite. It is so clever in its language with double-meanings and its colorful illustrations.
  • Duck! Rabbit! and Don't Blink are the most creative.
  • That's Me Loving You made me cry. It is supposed to be a mother's comforting words to a child leaving for school but I read it as a message from Rosenthal to her actual children after her death.
  • ! is a creative way to learn punctuation.
  • All of the books are humorous, sweet, and kind.


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