We Heart Larry!

Back-to-back sessions at the Larry Book Festival led to another good discussion about jobs. After a reading of Ice Cream Larry (which I consider the least successful picture book in the the series), I told the kids we would read a bonus story. We want to get through all the books before I have to return them to the library, I explained.

"Whoa," one kid said, "I hope my library has Larry books!"

"Whoa, me too!," the rest said.

I explained that a librarian's job is to help you find the books you want. You can go right up to the librarian and ask for help finding books about Larry the polar bear. Even better, you can ask for help finding books by Daniel Pinkwater, so you can check out the Wallpaper From Space book, too. We closed our eyes and imagined a glass of water turning pink so we could remember Pinkwater. A librarian gets money to buy blueberry muffins by helping children and grown-ups find the books they want to check out.

The children loved Sleepover Larry. Most kids have gone on a sleepover with grandma or friends by the time they are four or five. They were excited to find a bunny in the book along with Larry, his brother Roy, Bear Number One, and Bear Number Three.

The dress-up party in the hospitality suite of the book festival was a big success. Kids took turns wearing a beret, dark sunglasses, and my mom's London Fog raincoat, pretending to be our favorite bear. That's what Larry wears when he goes walking around Bayonne, New Jersey to meet Roy at the zoo or have blueberry pancakes and sundaes. Other kids wore groovy beads and snapped their fingers like the bongo beatnik bears at Cafe Mama Bear. The teachers snapped digital party pics for this adventure in pretend silliness.

I refuse to serve codfish ice cream bars at snacktime on the final day of the book festival. We'll have blueberry mini-muffins instead. We'll make a collage poster with the party pics and magazine clippings of real polar bears. Then we'll wind up the festival with Dancing Larry.

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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