Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Trucks, Trucks, Trucks!

Shortly before dinner the doorbell rang. We opened the door to find a package sitting on our welcome mat. Inside the package was a copy of I Love Trucks. It was an instant hit. I think we've read it fifty times already today (and I'm not even kidding).

We halted dinner preparations to sit down together and read it—because it was just that exciting—and at the very first rhyme it got Andrew's head nod of approval. Rachel was less impressed with the rhyming scheme but that's only because she had no idea what a rhyming scheme was. (Now she does and is slightly more impressed.)

Benjamin was particularly enamoured with the page where you have to turn the book sideways to look at the truck the right way. It's thrilling, I tell you.

As soon as we finished the initial reading Benjamin said, "AGAIN!" so I read it to him again and again and again. And when I was tired of reading I told him to find someone else to read it to him. So he made Rachel read it to him over and over and over again. When she was sick of reading it Benjamin hit up Daddy.

When it was time to eat dinner we had to pry the book out of his hands. The only way we stopped his temper tantrum was to prop the book up where the dump truck could watch him eat dinner.

After dinner everybody read the book to Benjamin a few more times. We read it again at story time. And then I read it to Benjamin again after the girls got in bed. Benjamin took the book to bed with him.

I admit I was a little apprehensive about getting this book because we've enjoyed I Love Trains so much. I Love Trucks had the potential to be on par with I Love Trains (which I think it was) but it also had the potential to be worse (or...better, I suppose).

Sometimes authors write a fantastic story—a story that is lauded and loved—and they start to think a sequel will be just as good ("just as lucrative" says my inner skeptic) but then the sequel turns out to be utterly disappointing. Regarding children's literature the first example that comes to mind is Llama, Llama Red Pajama (which you can read here if you haven't read it (and if you haven't read it you should read it)). I love that book so much. It's clever. It's charming. I can read it over and over again.

Llama, Llama Mad at Mama and Llama, Llama Misses Mama aren't terrible stories. However, there are only so many things that rhyme with llama and Dewdney seems to have used them all in her first book. I simply wasn't as charmed with the last two 'Llama, Llama' books as I was with the first. While I'm fairly confident Llama, Llama Red Pajama will one day find its way into our personal library, I don't think the other books will because my feelings for them can be summed up with one word: meh.

I will say that Roly, Poly Pangolin was cute, though the meter of the poem is exactly the same as the other three books and I'm a little tired of it.

That was the other thing that Andrew noted about I Love Trucks—"The cadence is different!"

It's true. When we read I Love Trucks we don't feel like we're reading I Love Trains with different words.

Part of the reason we all memorized I Love Trains so quickly is because the opening stanzas fit so well to the tune of the song (chant?) "Me Love Hockey" by The Arrogant Worms (it's not their best song but it's still funny if you want to listen to a better song of theirs try 'Canada's Really Big' or 'History was Made by Famous People' (and, yes, all their music is silly stuff like that—I sing 'Rippy the Gator' to my kids frequently (I can't figure out why they're afraid of alligators (but not crocodiles))).

Instead of:

Me work hard five days a week
Sweeping garbage from the street

We say:

I like trains that hoot and roar
As they rumble by my door

It just fits. And we can keep it up for the next couple of lines as well:

First come engines big and strong
Pulling lots of cars along

It's possible that we read the first few pages of I Love Trains in the manner of "Me Like Hockey" about 75% of the time. Just to switch things up. (This also possibly explains Benjamin's enthusiastic use of the word 'strong.')

The point of explaining all of that was to say that we can't do that to I Like Trucks. It simply doesn't work. And I kind of appreciate that.

I suppose, since I Love Trains is the "sequel" to I Love Trucks I should have been expecting an okay "original" story (though sometimes later stories are better—there are no rules to these things). Anyway, I think the truck book is on par with the train book and we're happy to have it in our home. We're all planning on having it memorized by...tomorrow, probably.

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