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Before his nap today, Jupiter picked out Man Gave Names to All the Animals, written by Bob Dylan and Illustrated by Jim Arnosky, as his story.
This is a book we picked up at the Kirkwood Public Library the other day. I normally let Jupiter choose some books from the shelves, but on this occasion he had already put his full attention into the dollhouse and a new friend he found who was playing with the dolls as well. Instead I, being keen to his storybook tastes, went ahead and picked out a few that I thought he would enjoy.
I was in a bit of a hurry that day since it was getting close to lunch time and I had to bike back home with the boys to make their meals. Because of this, I did not even notice that Bob Dylan was the author until just before reading it to him this afternoon.
The words are the lyrics to the famous Bob Dylan song of the same name. Arnosky’s introduction mentions that he asked Dylan if he could paint what what he imagines when hearing the song and make a children’s book out of it, and that Dylan agreed and this is the result. It also includes a CD with the song on it so that you and your child may follow along with the song as you are reading the book if you wish.
Instead of trying to find a CD player which I have not owned for years, I pulled out my phone and opened the Spotify app to the song from Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming” album. I played the song and sang along with it to Jupiter as we turned the pages and enjoyed the painted illustrations.
The result was positive. He seemed to enjoy the lyrics and the pictures, which was no surprise since he loves a variety of animals. He laughed at my singing of the words, which I can understand as I do not regularly exercise my singing voice as dutifully as perhaps I should. Not to say I do not sing to my son regularly, I certainly do. I just do not go the extra mile of singing from my chest as Mr. Ritter often had to remind me to do when I was in Concert Choir and Boys Glee in high school. Nevertheless, I think he would be happy to know that at least some of what he taught me is getting some use as I age.
Jupiter has been taking music courses through a local community college which used various animals as an analogue for different types and lengths of notes while learning about melody and percussion at a three year old level. He told me that he already knew who Bob Dylan is, which he did not clarify whether he had learned in his class or from listening, with his mother, to her beloved Slacker Radio station that I created for her based on the artists listed as favorites on her Facebook profile.
In any event, I recommend this book for both children and adults, particularly those who are Dylan fans. It is fun to have a song to go along with the book once in awhile as a change for the ordinary reading we do.
Today Jupiter picked out Older Than the Stars, written by Karen C. Fox and Illustrated by Nancy Davis, to read before his nap.
This is one of my favorite books of his. It is about how the universe started and how we all got to be here. Every time I read this book to my now, three and a half year old son, Jupiter, he understands a little bit more of it and is completely amazed at how things began.
The illustration in the book is simply beautiful. It is fun to look at and discuss the things that Jupiter sees in this book from the neutrons, protons, and electrons all the way to the plants and animals that formed on earth.
I highly recommend this book for any child or adult who is wondering the hows and whys of our existence.