How do you choose a favorite, a best?
Which would you pick before all the rest?
In college, some friends of mine had a poster of Wassily Kandinsky’s “Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles” hanging up in their room. Anyone coming for a study break or evening chat was invited to look at the poster and choose a favorite square for that moment. It could represent how you were feeling that day, or just the colors that caught your eye at the time. It was a fun discussion starter, and as I think about it in hindsight, a nice way for exhausted college students to engage with art.
I thought of that poster as I was reading the subject for today’s post: The Favorite Book, a simple and fun 2019 picture book by Bethanie Deeney Murguia. In bright watercolors, she introduces the concept of favorites by inviting the reader to consider all the items on a page spread. These are divided into types: pages for paint colors, dogs both large and small, trees of all varieties, hats in a store window, desserts on a table. I enjoy that most of the text is phrased as questions. I think this book would really lend itself well to individual storytime with just one or two kids, with lots of pauses to discuss each person’s “favorite” on each spread. And great for re-readings, too; just like the Kandinsky poster, it’s absolutely fine to have a different favorite each day! That lends itself to more discussion: “Did you see that tree that looks like the one we have at Christmas?” or “I like the hat with the big bow because I would like to be fancy today.”
Towards the end, the questions start to grow a bit more complex. Can you have more than one favorite? Do you make the same choices as your friends? Is it nice to have something in common, or do you enjoy standing out? And what might that all mean? Conclusion: Our choices form us, and there are always new things to discover and explore. “From here to the sea to the sky up above—there are so many things in this world you can love.” What a great message! Reading this book felt like a giant invitation to unabashedly love things. (Or, in the case of one spread featuring a kid running away from a zoo display of snakes and alligators, to not love things!) I’m excited to share it with kids and get some fun discussions started about all the things we can love.
Featured image courtesy of author’s website.