When I became a mom, I always knew I wanted to create a household centered around learning, and what better tool than a book? I have books for the kids to peruse in each room of the house for whenever they get the urge, and I’ve tried to supply them with a wide mix of books from basic picture books to classic story books to educational books.
Of course many of our children’s books are on every parent’s reading list — Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, Mo Willems (who doesn’t love Knuffle Bunny?!), the Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child, H.A. Rey’s Curious George, etc.
Recently I found some serious “boy” books that have interesting multi-media elements in their illustrations that I believe stimulate a different type of creativity in boys.
One of our favorites is I Dreamt I Was a Dinosaur by Stella Blackstone and Clare Beaton. This book is about rough-and-tumble dinos in prehistoric jungles, but the original illustrations are made not with pen and paper, but with hand-embroidered fabrics and trims. Toby Pteradactyl is a flying pink dino with a button for an eye, and dip-dyed lace for scales! Shells, tiny seed beads and sequins adorn the dinosaurs, volcanoes, and prehistoric plants. My favorite are the gorgeous trees on the inside jacket made from frayed cord and string.
Something else I really like about these multi-media books is that when your child is two, he doesn’t notice that the artwork in front of him was sewn rather than painted. He just sees dinosaurs. But by the time he’s three and four, you can begin a discussion about how the artist created the scene. You can point out that the artist made a little figure out of molding clay, poured some sand in the model and stacked rocks to make a mountain. It becomes a lesson in art and creative use of materials, all in those favorite boy topics.