Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wild Things and Pooh Bears

On Wednesday we stepped into that magical world where anything is possible and adventure awaited us - the children's room at the main branch of the New York Public Library.

After a short subway ride we were greeted by John who ushered us into the children's room with promises of fun stories, grand sights and lots & lots of books.

Our wide-eyed, excited kindergarten students quietly followed John past the displays promoting the new movie Where the Wild Things Are, past the original stuffed animals that inspired A.A. Milne's writing of the adventures of Winnie-the Pooh and past (as promised) lots & lots of books.

After some settling in John began reading us several stories. The first was Papa, Please Get The Moon For Me by Eric Carle. Eric Carle is an amazingly successful children's book author/illustrator but I was not familiar with this book. Shame on me because it is really, really engaging with its creative use of paper folds and space.

John also read us the classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Our students knew this one and gleefully joined in during the reading.

A real treat was that he gave all of us a crown so we could be like the title character, Max, in that story. Now we had lots of little 'kings' creating their own rumpus in the library as they ran from place to place exploring books and playing with the stuffed animals.

They were very happy.

We also took a tour of the rest of the library. It is rather grand, majestic, exquisite, impressive and all those words that make you imagine a bunch of kids with their mouths hanging open in disbelief - well, me anyway.

Our visit ended with a look at the original stuffed animals that once belonged to A.A. Milne's son, Christoper Robin. Here were Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga and Tigger showing signs of being loved but still together after all these years. After 80 years a new Pooh adventure has been written. Return to the Hundred Acre Wood has been written by David Benedictus in the style of the original.

The Winnie-the-Pooh stories have the best twists on language. Very simple statements that are also rather deep. This line cracked me up because it is my mind completely "Owl had flown to Rabbit's house, and Rabbit had spoken to his Friends and Relations, who had spoken to Smallest-of-All, who thought he had seen Christopher Robin but couldn't be absolutely certain because sometimes he remembered things which turned out not to have happened yet, or ever, or at all".

Thanks to our school librarian, Sara, for setting up our visit.


Mona said...

Library is always so fascinating. I love children's books, mainly because of the illustrations & I still read Grimm & Anderson's fairy tales! :)

Mona said...

Interestingly, I have been teaching communication skills to Hotel management students , and they spoke quite a bit about ASL in methods of communication! I thought about you then ! :)

Salty Miss Jill said...

Oh, fun!

I, to, admit to having the same problem as Owl. ;)

Pauline said...

Great post! Glad to see that you are introducing kindergarten age kids to the wonderful world of books. I well remember my first trip to the library and how excited I was to know I would soon be able to read every book on every shelf! Winnie the Pooh is still among my favorite reads :)

Barbara said...

So Christopher Robin was a real person! How great to get to see the original animals that inspired the stories. Sounds like a great outing. Loved the crowns!

Gary said...

Mona - Grimm's fairy tales are wonderful. Glad to be in your thoughts once in a while. Isn't that so amazing? To think about people so far away, who you have never met but yet have formed a friendship. I love that. Another reason to give blogging a pat on the back.

Jill - Isn't that a great sentence. Sometimes I think "did that happen or did I just dream it". Thankfully it does not happen that often (but Joy usually plays into it somehow).

Pauline - The children's librarian, John, who ushered us around was so clear when he told the children 'This is your library!' Wow, all this beauty and expanse of books belonged to them. I LOVED when he said that and I loved seeing them try to wrap their minds around it. So exciting.

Barbara - It is such a good story of how A.A. Milne came to write the books. Worthy of a book itself. I will save a crown for you! (actually, I have a bunch of extras. Perhaps I should send them to you for the shelter kids??)

Steve said...

Sorry you couldn't make it on Saturday, Gary -- we definitely had you in mind! Let's catch up in the city sometime soon! :)

WAT said...

Will you take me on a personal tour of the library whenever tha hell it is I get to NYC?

Cool man! Thanks!

Barbara said...

Please, please save me some crowns. My crew will adore them! They are big fans of Max's adventures.

Arielle Lee Bair said...

Ah! I just LOVE your blog! Always makes me smile.

Also, in response to the comment you left on my blog, I'm so glad the banana boat snacks were a hit!

Gary said...

Steve - That would be great. So much to catch up on since we saw each other last.

Wat - Yes, that and some other amazing places.

Barbara - You got it.

Arielle - That was sweet of you ( the smile comment AND the banana boat idea) Thanks!

Mickle in NZ said...

Gary - I love this post. Thank you for showing me the original toys. What an exciting time for your class!

Gary said...

Mickle - I thought you might enjoy it. I was trying for a better shot but I simply couldn't get one, what with the glare and harsh lighting.

lettuce said...

theres nothing quite like a wild rumpus, is there?

I sometimes remember things which turn out not to have happened yet, or ever, or at all...

aims said...

My dear friend Mickle just sent me this link and it has brought a huge smile to my face.

How I love Pooh and the gang! I wondered if you could hear him walking around saying 'Oh Bother - Oh Bother'.


Gary said...

Aims - thank you for dropping by FYB! Pooh is really fantastic. I love the way his is written, such beautiful and interesting language.


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