Preschoolers squeal with delight every time the "David" books make an appearance. That's why we were thrilled to score this interview with David Shannon. I know first hand. Last year at my daughter's two's class the kids requested Oh, David! every day. Written by David Shannon, the books feature a little boy named David. David gets into lots of messes (especially in the book David Gets in Trouble) and tends to be, shall we say high spirited. But beneath all his wildness (he views pants as optional), is a sweet little boy who loves school, his mom and his friends.
The latest in the David series is David Goes To School. Pick it up this summer and I bet your preschooler will be raring to join in the fun come next fall.David Shannon's drawings are genius. Lots of bold lines, splashy color and exaggerated proportions. Thanks to his talent as an artist, Shannon needs few words to support the storyline. And kids just love shouting out the simple text (they memorize it in one or two readings). If you want to encourage a love of books in a high energy kid that rarely sits down--try these. I was lucky enough to nab an interview with the author and find out more about his inspiration:
Interview with David Shannon
If we asked your mom, would she tell us you were the high spirited
little boy in the book?
Probably not. She's still in deep denial.
Why do you think kids respond to David?
I think in a weird way, David gives kids permission to have fun. David basically doesn't do anything that every kid hasn't at least thought of doing. It's like he's acting on their impulses -- and getting in trouble and taking the heat -- but it's all OK because it's in a book that is sanctioned by their parents and their schools.
This book has little text, but tells a vivid story--what is the magic?
I think part of it is that the pictures tell a lot of the story, and that's one of the great things about children's books. A lot of their language is visual. Another element is that the text in No, David! --the time-honored "No" phrases that moms use -- is loaded with individual meaning from each kids' individual experiences. That's one reason I didn't want to show the grownups' faces -- I wanted each kid to picture his or her own authority figures.
What were some of your favorite books growing up?
I loved Dr. Seuss - The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, and If I Ran the Zoo were two of my favorites. Also The Story of Ferdinand ,The Boy's King Arthur, and the Prydain books by Lloyd Alexander.
What are you reading these days?
I'm reading a biography of N.C. Wyeth, one of my all-time favorite illustrators (he illustrated the King Arthur stories) and my wife is bugging me to read The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, next.