Michigan's Breathe Owl Breathe knows how to make young parents rather happy. Their latest offering is an imaginative and heartwarming 7-inch/children's book combo, The Listeners/ These Train Tracks. (Personal aside: I'm a father of a 4 year old, and I've put in way too much time singing to Wonder Pets and the Backyardigans, so maybe I appreciate this more than one might normally). The two stories, with songs to accompany, certainly make for ideal parent-child quality time. With a band name such as theirs, it's little wonder one of the stories revolves around a mole and an ostrich.
As fate would have it, the trio, consisting of Micah Middaugh, Trevor Hobbs and Andréa Moreno-Beals, is swinging through town in support of this most unorthodox follow-up to their stellar 2010 release, Magic Central. Since they'll be opening for Laura Gibson tonight at Dan's Silverleaf, we figured we'd see what Breathe Owl Breathe's all-time top five children's books are. As you'll see, the band had a hard time narrowing their choices down.
5. Paddle-to-the-Sea, by Holling Clancy Holling (Andréa) I was always really detail-oriented as a kid, and I loved making drawings with colored with mechanical pencils with fine tips so I could draw every tiny thing I thought of or saw. The illustrations on every page in this book had so much detail. I remember them filling my imagination of all that happens in the story's journey very vividly.
4.9 Bony-Legs, by Joanna Cole (Micah) This book was amazing! It's a spooky and magical tale. It scared me so much, but I still loved it.
4.75 Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak Feels like touring and then returning home. "And it was still hot." But in our case: "And it was still cold."
4.6 Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr A winter night venture.
4.5 Strega Nona, by Tomie dePaola (Micah) That's a lot of spaghetti.
3.5 Swinging and Swinging, by Fran Manushkin (Micah) The way it morphs. Let's just leave it at that.
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3. The How and Why Wonder books, various authors (Trevor) These books came in a small box set, and each word had its own book. Every page had a question that started with that word. I remember being blown away after reading the answer to the question, "How Big is the Ocean?" There was something about plate tectonics; that the continents are moving apart at the speed that our nails grow, with an illustration of a kid with really long fingernails.
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2.5 The Amelia Bedelia books, by Peggy Parish (Andréa) When I first moved to the U.S. as a 7 year old, these books spoke to me so much. I related to them because the main character was always mixing up words and making chocolate chip cookies with potato chips. I loved the way they helped me have a happy and fun sense of humor about learning how to read and write in English, because often, I would make similar mistakes. I remember reading them to myself over and over again and laughing out loud every time.
2. Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Andréa) It inspired me to write my own series based on it. The first one was about my life in my tree house. I started a second one by I never finished it. And I know I was Laura for at least one Halloween.
1.5 Bright Faun and Me, by Fay Leech and Zame Spencer (Micah) It was a really old book, a relic on the shelf. I remember the colors used were mostly brown and black.
1. Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein (Micah) Every night my Mom would come in and say, "OK, flip it open to a page." Then she would read the two pages open on each side, and I'd have to go to bed after that. Sometimes I'd try to negotiate with her to read more.