Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kids Books

While I was home last week, I got sucked into my old bookcases.  I can't even tell you how much I loved reading as a kid.  I still do, but there's just something about seeing those old books I used to love.  I don't know, it's like the homiest feeling.  I imagine that's what people feel like about stuffed animals or baby blankets.  That's how I feel about my favorite books.  I came across two of my very all time favorites while I was home, and I am now on the hunt to find copies for my little brewing baby.
I present to you, George and Martha Rise and Shine and Mary Alice Operator Number 9.  I never realized before, but they're illustrated by the same guy.  His design aesthetic must have really spoken to baby Hayley because I ADORED these books.  My mom used to read a book to me every night before bed when I was really little and she had Mary Alice memorized because I would basically just pick that book every single night.  I cannot emphasize enough how much I love these books.

Once I got a little older, maybe like 6 or 7, I went through a phase where I still loved certain books, but felt the need to add sarcastic comments to some of them.  I'm pretty sure I needed more friends, because I made a LOT of annotations in a LOT of books.  One book that got the Editor Hayley treatment was a Sesame Street book, Ernie Gets Lost.
Despite re-reading it last week, I'm a bit fuzzy on the details of the book.  The obvious premise is that Ernie gets lost in a shopping mall, but I can't figure out the relationship he has with the lady he's shopping with.  I think they describe her as his friend Maria, but obviously she's some sort of guardian who pays for his things.  But he lives with Bert, so I don't get why he isn't shopping with him.  ANYWAYS, one of the first pages shows Maria getting ready to leave the house with Ernie.  As she's reaching for her coat, I felt the need to add valuable insight to her character.
For those of you who can't tell, Maria is thinking about a chicken drumstick.  I have no idea what I was going for there.  Maybe I figured she wanted to eat rather than shop with Ernie, or perhaps I just figured out how to draw drumsticks.  I guess we'll never know...
As Maria gets ready to leave, Ernie's making a mess, emptying his piggy bank and imagining the things he's going to get.  I was captivated by the imaginary toys (you should see the notes I made in the Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear and Get the Gimmies) and I decided to circle the toy I was interested, in case my mom saw my notes and ever came across a real-live "Pigeon-Land Game".  I also wrote in the words "I want" in case she didn't get what I was going for.
As you can see, I hadn't quite perfected drawing glasses like I had chicken drumsticks, so I drew like four pairs on this page.  Why wouldn't he have multiple pairs of glasses strewn at his feet with his change?
The story progresses with Ernie and Maria riding the train/subway/bus to the mall.  I felt like the author's information was satisfactory, but I thought the illustrations were missing a certain something.....
And that something was a mutant pig-girl creature stalking Ernie through the bus window. 
I'll skip some of the other pictures because they're even blurrier, but that's when my sarcasm really blossomed.  So as the story goes, Ernie and Maria get separated and he thinks he spots her, so he follows a woman up the escalator, but SURPRISE! it's a stranger.  On each page, as you see Ernie looking for Maria, I've written "stoped!!" (I couldn't spell stupid.  The irony) and as you see Maria looking for Ernie, I drew thought bubbles having her say something like "yes! I lost him!"  That's actually pretty dark for a little kid.  Finally, Maria and Ernie are reunited (SPOILER ALERT) and they embrace on a checkout counter.  Though they both seem happy, I took away a different interpretation.
If you can't read that, Maria's thought bubble reads "NOT!  I hate him!"  Poor Maria.  You'll shake that weenie one of these days.  
To reward Ernie's poor instincts and inability to follow her directions of staying with her, she purchases the Pigeon Land board game I very much coveted.  
Innocent Ernie's thought bubble is Maria.  He's just happy to be back with his guardian.  Don't be fooled by the smile on Maria's face; her thought bubble shows us she's thinking of a dollar bill because she's just thinking about how much money she's throwing away on Ernie.  She's like: What happened to that change you counted out, Ern?  You couldn't pay for your own crappy game?  And the salesman?  You guessed it.  He's thinking about chicken drumsticks.
The book ends with Ernie returning home to Bert, who is WISHING and HOPING Ernie comes home with the Pigeon Land board game.  It's literally all he is thinking about.
So there's the cliff notes version of Ernie Gets Lost for you folks.  Now don't let a 7 year old's dark humor fool  you.  I would LOVE to have this book for my child.  I would also really like the version I drew on though, because I'd want my kid to grow up understanding the depth of the story.

As some of you know, thanks to a pesky (and somewhat delayed) wisdom tooth, I had to go to the dentist while I was in Houston.  It's a gross understatement to say that I LOATHE the dentist.  It's the absolute worst.  I cry literally every time I go, no matter what's being done.  In my life, I've probably been to 10 dentists and I've had 9 horrible experiences.  Only one dentist has ever been good, and that's Dr. Timothy Barkley.  I am the biggest anti-dentite you'll ever find, but I really like Dr. Barkley and have always felt comfortable with him.  Thankfully he was able to squeeze me in when I was home because I was in so much pain, I couldn't open my mouth wide enough to brush my teeth.  A 2 minute visit and some Amoxicillin and I'm right as rain now.  I bring this up because as I was going through my books, I came across The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist.  Even at a young age, I had already been traumatized so much that I knew Brother and Sister Bear were in for a terrible trip.
Now let me say this, I'm a huge Berenstain Bears fan.  I had a ton of the books and read them really regularly.  To me, though, this story has a major flaw in that the bear cubs get sent to the dentist because Sister wakes up with a loose tooth.  Are you kidding me, you're gonna take her to her first trip to the dentist for that!?  Let that thing fall out on it's own!  Don't pay the dentist to pull it!! Or is Bear dental insurance like way better than human insurance?  What am I missing?  So here we have Brother and Sister eating breakfast, with a fresh wiggling tooth for Sister. 
Her thought bubble displays how self conscious she is about her goofy tooth.  Brother of course is no help, since he's laughing at her.  I'm not sure what I was going for with Mama Bear's thought bubble that just says "Ohhh!"
As brother goes off to school, mocking Sister, she's thinking "He's stoped!!" (I'll figure out that spelling one day), and we realize (through my artistic additions) that Brother's school bus is actually the Tooth Fairy.
 I like how the Tooth Fairy looks back at sister like "yeah...I got this."
Once the Bears get to the dentist and Brother starts with his checkup, I felt like I needed to knock him down a few pegs for how he teased Sister. 
I went ahead and drew some plaque on each of his teeth so he could see how those of us with bad dental experiences feel.  It's not so much fun when the dentist tells you your teeth are in terrible shape, eh Brother?  Also, do bears not have tonsils?  Thanks to Brother's cockiness and lack of hygiene, he does, in fact, have a cavity, which the dentist fills on the spot with seemingly no anesthesia.
His thought bubble says "I fell stoupid" which obviously should be "I feel stupid".  I'd like to believe though, that was little Hayley's way of sticking it to Brother by purposely misspelling that to make him look stupid.  It's a complex story.
At the end of the book, we see Sister happily run into her parent's bedroom to show off the money the Tooth Fairy brought her.  Both parent's look obnoxiously smug, which I'm guessing is where Brother gets it from.
Both parents are simultaneously saying "Gatr", which I think means "Got Her!" while both also thinking "NOT!".  I can't explain what I was going for there.

So there you are.  Those are a couple of my favorite books from my childhood, as edited by myself.  Obviously I missed my true calling, which is writing AND illustrating books.  I'll leave you with something I found in one of my coloring books which is extremely bizarre.
Alan Hemberger was a news anchor in Houston in the early 90s.  I did not watch the news.  I don't know why I put that in my coloring book.

It's kind of terrifying to see how a child's mind works, isn't it?

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