Years ago, my sister Beth gave our children a book titled, "How I Became a Pirate." This book was our first introduction to the awesomeness that is David Shannon.
Despite the fact that a young boy, during a visit to the beach, takes off on an overnight adventure with a boatload of scraggly pirates and his parents don't even seem to notice .... (!!!)
... this story became one of our fast favorites.
After a wild and crazy sea adventure, the boy realizes that the joy of not having to eat his vegetables or brush his teeth at night, are far outweighed by the sadness of not having anyone to tuck him in at night and give him a goodnight kiss.
So he happily returns home.
Several weeks later, my mother gave our children a new book which reminded me of the vivid illustrations in our new-favorite pirate book. It wasn't for at least another month before I realized that the illustrators of the two stories were in fact one in the same.
"No David!" was both written and illustrated by David Shannon and this story positively delights our children. It is the story that was re-created from a story David Shannon originally wrote and illustrated when he was a five-year-old child, about a boy whose mother always told him NO.
It's a simple story.
It's a great story.
It's a story that our children can relate to and know by heart.
Despite his antics, beady eyes, jagged teeth and misshapen head...
We love David because we love the way that he has been created as a character children can relate to.
We love David when he goes to school.
And we love David when he gets in trouble.
But a few weeks ago, our children brought home from their school library what I believe to be the absolute best David Shannon story, yet. Much like Pixar animated movies are woven with humor that may soar above a child's head but can smack a parent in the funny bone, the story of "Too Many Toys" rang with such truth and such hilarity, Charlie and I dubbed this one of our FAVORITE children's books, yet.
This is the story of a little boy named Spencer who has too many toys.
His toys come from a number of sources.
As I was reading this book, I realized that the reason I appreciate David Shannon so much is his ability to craft a story to which people can relate. Seeing the look of sheer exasperation on Spencer's mother's face, gave me a feeling of understanding and camaraderie.
Funny enough, whenever my eyes bug out of my head and I scream and threaten to roll a dumpster STRAIGHT IN TO OUR HOUSE and discard all of our children's toys, they greet me with the exact same reaction. "But Mom! Please. I will never emotionally recover if you throw away the broken parachute man that I received two years ago at our Pediatrician's office and which I forgot even existed until you just now found it..."
Seeing as I'm the anti-hoarder and find immense pleasure in purging our living space, I often have a difficult time coming to terms with my young children's desire to hang on to everything.
Especially when I know in my heart...
... a child's favorite toy is always the most simple.