F is for Fondness (and Kids are Freaky)

For "F," I chose Don Freeman of Corduroy fame.

I remembered Corduroy so vividly in my own head, I was a little surprised to discover (1) the story is incredibly simple; (2) the book did not win the Caldecott. (The book was voted into the Teachers' Top 100 and in the top 100 by a School Library Journal poll.)

Regarding simplicity, I was reminded of Malcolm Gladwell's comments on Sesame Street and Blue's Clues in his chapter about "stickiness" in The Tipping Point, which non-fiction book I recommend.

Gladwell makes the point that although adults like Sesame Street, little kids prefer Blue's Clues. Adults find Blue's Clues mind-numbing. But little kids will gravitate towards it, in part because it doesn't require constant attention, an observation that completely refutes the idea that kids who watch television are brain-dead automatons.

In other words, there is a difference between what attracts adults and what attracts kids.

In the universe of Venn diagrams, there is overlap, but the divide is important to remember. Many adults like Frozen (I'm one of those who prefer Tangled--not that the movies have to be compared but they came out at the same time and were compared). However, even adults who like the movie are often utterly bewildered by the fascination of their little girls.

Screeds have been written trying to explain that fascination. Eh. It just is. (The first time you witness two little girls arguing about which of their moms is Elsa--while wearing Elsa dresses and claiming the privilege of being Elsa--you confine the entire topic to the mind-heap of "kids are freaky" and move on.)

In any case, Corduroy is a lovely book--however, I wasn't initially able to recapture whatever it was about the book that utterly enchanted me when I was young.

The second time I went through it, I decided my fond memories were connected to the idea-- wonderfully captured in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler--of being awake and mobile in a department store/place-with-stuff at night (weirdly enough, that is the one thing I remember about the strange, Greek myth-inspired 1980s movie Mannequin.) 

And I was fascinated by escalators.

Though--maybe it was something else. Kids are kids.

Corduroy is a lovely book.


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