Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Elisa Kleven, Where Have You Been All My Life?

I admit to being a total book snob. In our house, we tend to think that children's books from days of yore are far superior to those of today. We're much more likely to read Goodnight Moon or Where the Wild Things Are than anything to do with llamas or pigeons.

I can't say why, exactly. There is nothing that says an older book is better than a new one, or that new books aren't good. I just think that the old ones have proven themselves. They've stood the test of time, and time has weeded out the bad ones.

Don't get me wrong, we do have plenty of recent books in our collection. I am just not as apt to buy one on a whim. That's why, when I found a copy of The Paper Princess Finds Her Way at the thrift store over the weekend, I picked it up and put it back no fewer than three times. My inner dialogue went something like "ooh, butterflies." "Glossy cover, ugh." "But I like the illustrations." "Not another princess book." "It's a paper princess." I flipped through it, and for ninety-nine cents, my curiosity got the better of me.

I got it home and read it. And I loved it.

I know Waldorf is supposed to be storytelling, but I bungle them every time. So for school, I've been using printed stories and reading from my binder to avoid illustrations, because that way I can just sort of glance down and pretend I am telling a story. I decided to go ahead use a book this week though. The timing was perfect, because the end of the book has the monarch butterflies migrating south.

I am not sure whether the book would be considered Waldorf. It fits with our philosophy toward toys though; when she encounters a group of noisy, plasticy toys, they end up in awe of the little paper princess. I was impressed with her too, actually. She understood that it was better to face the unknown than to stick around in a familiar situation you're not happy with.

So we read it today, and Lissie loved it too. I am not sure she spoke once through the entire book, and that never happens. It turns out this author has written a bunch of other books, with great reviews on Amazon, and yet I have somehow never heard of her before.

I guess that's what I get for being a book snob.

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