Parenting: New children's book

David Murphy reports: replaces (David Murphy reports: replaces

A new kid's book about animals is getting some buzz.
May 2, 2012 7:11:44 AM PDT
When our kids were young, we enjoyed reading to them and all the expert advice out there supports how it's a good parenting practice. We went towards the old favorites, most of the time. Each kid in the house was led through The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, Margery Williams' classic, The Velveteen Rabbit and a bunch of old Dr. Seuss classics. Sometimes, we even went out of our way to track down one of our old childhood favorites, like Millions of Cats, published in 1928 by Wanda Gag. It was enjoyed by every generation of Murphy's to come along since.

Every now and then, something new came along, like Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, which represented something new and fun for all of us.

I was reminded of this recently when I received word of a new entry into the children's book ranks from author, Judith Krimski of Massachusetts. Vanilla Gorilla: Animal Art and Poems has gotten some nice reviews for its whimsical and poetic treatment of some of the lesser-known and more curious members of the animal kingdom.

The subjects include the aye-aye, fanaloka and mandrill, only one of which I've ever heard of. Obviously, part of the book's aim is to expand a child's vocabulary. There's also a subtle message from the author that runs through the material: being something of an oddity isn't a bad thing.

In interviews, Krimski has expressed the hope that the poems and gist of the book will encourage discouraged kids to accept themselves a little more readily and build their self-esteem. But that lofty goal appears to be secondary to the central mission of stretching kid's understanding and interest in animals and putting new words and ideas to their heads.

The author is a graphic designer by trade and the illustrations speak to her artistic abilities.

I've written before about the difficulty authors of children's books have had in the last decade in getting new books to market. Here's a new one that's getting some decent buzz, in case you're over at the book store looking for something different for your young son or daughter.

For more information:

Vanilla Gorilla: Animal Arts & Poems by Judith Krimski, ISBN: 978-1-4567-1190-0, Soft cover, retail price: $14.95

---David Murphy

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