Rainy Day Reads for Dress-up Kids – #1

Perhaps the sun is shining where you are, but in Toronto it’s a relentlessly rainy day which means indoor play.  In other words…it’s a perfect day for dress-up!  It’s also a perfect day to kick off a regular blog feature that we’ve been very excited to share with you.

Imaginary play, costume play and indeed all of Fancy Pants Kids designs are inspired directly and indirectly by the magic of children’s books.  Literature provides a diving board for imaginative play…planting seeds of stories which kids bring to glorious full bloom on drizzly days like today when they dig to the very bottom of the Tickle Trunk.

Every week or so, we will feature one of our favourite children’s books, covering a variety of ages and stages.  Perhaps these will remind you to pull that one off the shelf, borrow it from the Public Library or pick up a copy from your local independent bookseller.  Over time we will compile a fantastic list of must-have children’s books for families who love imaginative play.

Today we start with my oldest and most dear inspiration…’Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak.  This venerable and prolific author/illustrator died earlier this year and I blogged about my personal connection to him and his work in this earlier post.  The illustrations of Max being wild in his wolf suit were among my most acute inspirations for my Dragontail design.

Many parents and grandparents have fond memories of reading (or being read) this evocative and simple story about Max.  He is sent to his room after getting into “mischief of one kind…and another.”  What happens in his room is the product of pure magic and imagination.  Sendak never believed in pulling punches when it comes to showing the gnashing teeth and yellow eyes of wild things.  Some children go through stages of not wanting to read this book because they find it scary but this generally passes.  Other children relish the pure drama and the incredible styling of the creatures and the landscapes and come back to it time after time after time.  Max is independent and in control of his world.  He tames the wild things and becomes their king before sailing his private boat back to the “night of his very own room”.

If you are already a fan of this book, we’d love to hear about how you read the 3 consecutive panoramic illustrations of the ‘wild rumpus’ in the middle of the book.  Every reader has a different approach…what is yours?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jenn4jansen Jennifer Jansen

    We generally sing a little song and do a little wiggle – the lyrics for the first page are “rumpus, rumpus, rumpus!” The second page is usually “party, party, party!” The third is open to interpretation!
    Great question, I’d love to read what others do!

    • Gretel

      Thanks Jennifer! There are a bunch of answers on our Facebook page from other families too!

  • M

    I either say nothing and pause with each image just looking, or I quietly say, “swinging in the trees … marching … howling at the moon …”. my kids often volunteer descriptions and observations. I’ve been known to read the whole book with a different focus, on occasion too: asking questions about background details or style elements in the art, or imagining the feelings of the different creatures.

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