Sunday, July 21, 2013

The humanity of inanimate objects

There are two kinds of people in this world, right? The ones who believe in the inner souls of non-sentient beings and the unimaginative ones. You're here reading my words, so you're in the first camp, yes? We're dreamers here, imaginers, possibility seers. My grandmother's cake pan understands my expectation for how a delicate batter should rise because it has the knowledge base of risen batters past. My car is named Midge, because how can you spend that much time snuggled up in one lap and never even learn your partner's name? These things matter.

(What objects have you named? And what objects do you talk with?)

Kids understand these conversations best since they live in a space where the line between reality and imagination is blurred. That's why monsters really might come out at night and fairies certainly do drop by our house sometimes, even if we've never seen them. One leads to the other: if fairies are really real, how can you know that monsters aren't? And so the whole world becomes a space of magic, because refutation leads to no magic at all, and so we empower anteaters to vacuum away monsters. It all makes sense if anything does.

What do you do when the inanimate objects develop their own ideas? This is the concept behind a new children's book, The Day the Crayons Quit, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. I'm telling you this because you want this book, even if you didn't know it until now. The crayons have their own plan, and you should find out what it is. Amazon called it one of the best books of the year so far.

And there are two more things you should know:

1) Tomorrow, across the country, Barnes and Noble stores are hosting The Day the Crayons Quit story time activities. You should get on that.

2) If you're local, the book's illustrator will be at the National Book Festival this year, and the best way to get your kids excited about NBF is to familiarize them in advance with the famous literary peeps they'll get to meet.

[2a) I have a huge literary crush on Oliver Jeffers. Ahem. I have L has every book he's done for kids, but until now he's only illustrated his own words. For him to agree to illustrate another person's text -- you know it has to be good.]

So. Crayons! Vive la resistance! What else might be plotting against you?

This post is sponsored by nobody. This post is written in support of a friend, a new author, and my unabashed twins loves of Oliver Jeffers and developing my kids into bibliophiles.

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