Audrey and Don Wood totally get it! This author / illustrator duo understand what kids want when they open up a book. Not only that, they both cater to a child's quirky sense of humor. One of the greatest pleasures in reading to children is that they so readily suspend their disbelief. And a willing suspension of disbelief comes in quite handy with Don and Audrey Wood's books, making their absurd story line down-right riotous!
The Napping House (c. 1991) plays on the rhyme, rhythm, and repetition similar to This is the House that Jack Built while describing the sleeping arrangement of those in the household as they take their cozy, afternoon nap -- that's to say: how they're cuddled up upon "the snoring granny." The illustrations first depict the circumstances under the shadow of a dark, rainy day. Gradually each page becomes a touch more illuminated as the images brighten with the sun's arrival. Additionally, The Napping House remains one of our Nana's favorite stories. She uses it in her kindergarten classroom as a fun teaching tool for sequencing skills, vocabulary words (i.e. slumbering, snoozing, and dozing), and language arts activities (i.e. building the story with illustrated activity blocks, building words with the movable alphabet, and creating words by substituting the letters with another letter sound).
In King Bidgood's in the Bathtub (c. 1985), Audrey Wood presents the problem in the opening line:
"Help! Help!" cried the Page when the sun came up.
"King Bidgood's in the bathtub, and he won't get out!
Oh, who knows what to do?"
Several in the Elizabethan kingdom try to coax the king out of the bathtub . . . to no avail. What's a page to do? Find out in this delightfully comical story. The kids feed off the hilarity of the storyline and have self-memorized the lines to recite whenever then need a good laugh. It comes as no surprise that Don Wood received a Caldecott honor for King Bidgood's in the Bathtub in 1986 since the kids enjoy pouring over his brilliant oil paintings as much as they enjoy repeating the story. Once again, Wood illuminates his illustrations in relation to the sun and moon's course.
Don't let your kid's childhood slip away without introducing them to King Bidgood's in the Bathtub and The Napping House. We've heard from Solomon that laughter is the best medicine; give your family their fill with these two titles. So before the weekend begins, pick up at least one of these titles from your local library to take home and share with your family. I guarantee you, you'll be glad you did (even those older ones will sneak in the room to hear King Bidgood's antics)!
If you'd like to discover more about Don and Audrey Wood, check out their website here.