If you can get your hands on the February 6th New Yorker, the one with Rosie the Riveter wearing a pink hat, it’s worth the $9. I love the New Yorker. Along with the detailed examinations of the arts and culture and political commentary (from which we all may need a break!) is a lovely article about Mo Willems, children’s book writer.
Willems lives in Massachusetts, shares Rivka Galchen, in close proximity to the Eric Carle museum. In an idyllic part of the country, surrounded by greenery and the arts, Willems calls up a strong voice that inspires children to live with the imperfections of life. His drawings and characters are simple, yet his messages are complex, and children love them.
His books speak to everyone, while targeting early readers. Galchen likens his books to the “old Land Shark skits from ‘Saturday Night Live,'” a curious combination of fear and humor, one in which the audience is in on the joke from the beginning.
Willems has hit on something: kids thrive on reality. Although we try our best to provide elegantly appointed bedrooms and take classes in “How to be a great parent,” life is tough for kids. The new baby is cute. We have to wait our turn when we want something very badly. Mommy is not home and there is a babysitter we don’t like so much.
Kids learn that although there are problems, we endure and can even laugh about it later.
If you don’t know Mo Willems and you are a “kid person,” you might want to check him out. And if you do know Willems, you will probably enjoy the article.