Favorite Book (this week): The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nut House
Eric Litwin, Scott Magoon (Illustrator)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
With the recent announcement that picture book series star Pete the Cat is soon to be a television star, I thought it fitting to send a little love Eric Litwin's way. Litwin is the author (though not the creator) of the first four Pete the Cat picture books, The Nuts: Sing and Dance in Your Polka-Dot Pants and The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nut House, as well as the to-be-released Groovy Joe (illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld!).
The genius of Eric Litwin's books is subtle. Simple stories, with brightly colored illustrations and downloadable songs, appeal to a wide range of readers. Yet Litwin has managed to write stories that appeal to non-readers as well. It is nearly impossible to simply read The Nuts books. It is nearly impossible to read any of Litwin's stories, really, without singing (and maybe dancing) along. These stories require interaction. They require laughter. They require 7,142 re-reads (re-sings?). As you read them, you forget you are reading - and therein lies the genius. By encouraging playfulness in reading, we encourage reading by everyone, even the staunchest "I hate to read" non-readers.
The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nut House is no exception. This book has a lot going for it: a fun repetition of singing and howling at the moon, an all-too-familiar-sounding mama becoming stronger and stronger in her insistence that it is TIME for bed, and a sweet (but not overly saccharin) message about love, even through exhaustion and annoyance. Readers and non-readers alike will relate to the emotions of the nut-kiddos and mama-nut, in the little nuts' desire to play, in the anxious feelings of getting in trouble, and in the snuggle-up resolution.
A book that encourages going to bed AND reading? Win-win-WIN.
How does your family feel about Eric Litwin's books?