In When I Go to Central Park, our board book, the little ones learn to read simple action words such as “ride,” “pet,” “climb,” “visit,” “listen,” “pretend,” “share,” and “enjoy.” Young children love repetition, and the words from the cover repeat several times in the book. There is a simple rhythm, which children also like. The reader says, “When I go to Central Park, I love to ride the carousel.” When the child is “I” he or she becomes a character in the book who then asks, “What do you like to do when you go to Central Park?”
Pamela is showing the book to her students! One can follow a dream and it can come true!
This is a book that lets you enter the paintings and be in Central Park. While you are visiting, you can talk with your child about the laws of nature and gravity and about how the Earth spins 'round and 'round just like the carousel. You can discuss what it means to be a hero like Balto and not talk about it, or what it means to be humble and not boast. One line, “Time stops when the oars are lifted,” can lead to a discussion about stopping, slowing down and noticing the world. Just stop and look and see! If we look and see we become curious like Alice in Wonderland, and our curiosity leads to new understandings and new discoveries! And, of course, everyone needs someone to tell a secret to. Secrets can be our dreams and goals and what we know inside. If you tell your secrets to the Angel Bethesda, she won't tell anyone. Maybe the child doesn’t know what “tacking” is and so it can lead to a great lesson in geometry. And the line “Central Park is a green oasis…” may be a wonderful first introduction to metaphor. All the attributes of an oasis, it is refreshing and a source of life, are applied to Central Park, and the child learns how we use one thing to help us understand another. Hans Christian Andersen’s stories teach children to be kind because those stories, like fairytales in general, have kindness as an essential theme. When there are three brothers in a story, it is always the kind brother in the tale who wins out in the end! We all know that children love to be actors, play dress up, and pretend they are someone else. This helps them imagine who they want to be. When we learn to skate we have to learn to have balance, and balance is a skill that we can always use. Keep your balance all your life! What a great seed to sow. The idea of balance can also lead to a discussion of justice and fair play. Children really want things to be fair! To keep having fun and going down the hill, you have to work hard and pull the sled back up. Work and fun can go together which calls for another kind of balance. And, without a doubt, we have to learn there are rules in the world (don’t feed the wildlife), which we should adhere to. Life has rules. Human food just isn’t good for the animals. Then at the end, we read that Central Park is a wonderful place to feel free. If we can feel free, we can be happy! Being joyful can be a wonderful goal in life. Maybe it is the essence of everything. We hope the grownup reader does more with these simple words than just read them. We call our book an “Interactive Reader,” and we invite readers and listeners to actively interact and have discussions about life. Finally, you may wonder where Max is. Perhaps you can see his shadow or imagine where he is hiding. We hope the paintings are doorways to the Imagination. Enjoy reading!
Chanit and Pamela