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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tell Me the Day Backwards, written by Albert Lamb and illustrated by David McPhail. Candlewick, Random House. 2011. $18.00 ages 4 and up

"Before that, I lay on top of the big rock, sunning myself. It made my fur get toasty!"

"And before that?"

Here's another lovely book with an interesting premise. It was a game the author's wife played with their children at the end of their day. Albert Lamb says that while his wife gave him the title, the bears are his. And so we begin...

It is bedtime. Timmy wants to play a game with his mother that they played last summer. Mama remembers, and offers an invitation for Timmy to get the story started. As they go, with Timmy remembering the day's events and Mama helping him along, the reader sees that there were times when lessons were learned for the next day. Brushing his teeth was the last thing that he did before hopping into bed, but many other events made his day special.
Timmy remembers most of the day and Mama adds details when needed. Finally, they get all the way back to early morning. Mama prods him to remember even before that and Timmy offers this memory:

"Before this morning, I slept and slept and slept; you and me and Papa Bear, we slept a deep sleep all through the whole, long, cold winter. "

And so begins another year of growth for a young bear, and for his parents. Imagine the adventures he might remember tonight at bedtime...when he 'tells the day backwards'.
Don't you think that this could be a fun way for you and your children to think about all the special events of their day? It would offer time to consider the fears, joys and learning that take place every day in the life of a young child.

David McPhail’s soft, gentle watercolors offer up the quiet peace of bedtime, while also showing each of the adventures experienced throughout an eventful first day of awakening after a long sleep. The soft edges of each illustration offer comfort, and the muted tones keep listeners rooted to the tender quiet of bedtime.

Read it. Then, be prepared to relive your child's day...backwards.

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