Friday, April 30
Our Favorite May Day Book...
We've been reading this book for a few days in anticipation of May Day.
On the Morn of Mayfest is written by Erica Silverman and illustrated by Marla Frazee (one of our family favorites...maybe you know her hilarious The Seven Silly Eaters or her stunning All the World ) The illustrations in this book will make you want to adorn yourself with blossoms and descend upon the nearest town square with a flowering branch of may and some bagpipes.
"This is the lass
with hair like a nest
who walked in her sleep
on the morn of Mayfest"
It is written in that snowballing, cumulative style of rhyme that is in the tradition of "The House that Jack Built". Next there is a "dove who flew after the lass with hair like a nest who walked in her sleep", etc, etc, so that it ends with not only the lass, but 14 other characters, all in a grand procession... I love to see children chanting along with the repetitive, familiar verse after just a couple of pages. I think this repetitive type of book is important for a pre-reading child...especially from my own personalized Waldorf perspective. A child who is in love with a story such as this can (and will!) quickly memorize the verse, then pick up the book on their own and "read" it themselves...mimicking what their parent (or whoever) has modeled for them. This, to me, is accomplishing all kinds of wonderful goals: bringing beauty and richness to the child, instilling a love for the literary experience, and allowing a natural, child-lead step toward literacy to take place without awakening them or forcing them "into their head". (I have some pretty strong ideas about reading and writing and how to marry Waldorf precepts about these things with other un-traditional education philosophies...I think a child might be best served learning to read and write in the same way they learned to speak...but we can talk about that some other time!)
I'd love to hear about any other stories or books that you all have found to celebrate May Day...do share!