Tuesday, November 27, 2012

30 Days of Picture Books - Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell

It's Day 27 of Picture Book Month. Today I have a confession: I am not a crafty mom. I wish I was, because one of the things Sprout really loves is making all kinds of art, using different materials and really getting creative. But sadly, I'm more than a bit challenged in this area. I don't sew, don't knit, don't draw, and can't for the life of me seem to finish our wedding scrapbook (or, um, start it, I mean).

But I do really admire the creative impulse, and we try to nurture it in Sprout. One of my goals for next year is to try to incorporate some more crafting time into our family activities, because I think it's important for kids to flex their imaginations. After all, childhood is the time for flights of fancy, not hunching over a screen like you're toiling away in a cubicle all day, right?

To that end, I was thrilled to find the book that's our pick today: Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell. Sprout ADORES the first book by Lovell, Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, and I do too. It's high on my list of books to recommend to all kids, packed with positive messages about being yourself and standing strong even when others try to knock you down. So we were pretty excited to read the next adventure with Molly Lou Melon, and I'm happy to say it does not disappoint.

In this latest outing, Molly Lou Melon is again acting on a lesson from her oh-so-wise grandmother, this time on using your imagination and the tools at your disposal to create your own playthings. Molly Lou's new neighbor, Gertie, has all the most expensive toys and elaborate gadgets around, but she's always bored. And so Molly Lou's showing her how to have fun, by being creative. Molly Lou cracks out some incredible creations, all of which come to life with David Catrow's colorful and whimsical illustrations. (Plus Molly Lou's delightfully droopy-faced dog is back again -- Catrow really draws the most terrific dogs, so perfect that you just want to reach out and scruffle their heads!)

Of this new book, Sprout says, "It's silly again!". He especially loves Molly Lou's cardboard-box race car, which she's painted and fashioned to look like the most amazingly cool paper-airplane ever (betcha that sucker is super fast!). I love that Lovell again sends a message about inclusion -- this time around Molly Lou's friend Gertie uses crutches, but it's not a plot point, just a feature about Gertie like her auburn hair or glasses. And Gertie learns that Molly Lou's way of having fun is so much better than watching TV or playing with a cell phone, so score one for old-school ways of amusing oneself.

Next time your kiddos complain that "there's nothing to do", share Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon with them, and talk about some of the ways you can inject some creativity into the day. With a little imagination (and some spare thingamajigs), you too can have as much fun as Molly Lou!

Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons

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