Thursday, January 9, 2014

Our Favorite Bedtime Stories

"I'm not tired yet!" is a phrase that every parent's used to hearing, which is why we're excited to welcome Still Awake Still! to The New Victory Theater in just a few days! The show opens with Miss Ivory Tinklefinger sitting down to her piano, cabaret-style, with lots of lullabies that promise to put even the rowdiest kids to sleep. But it's not long before things turn into a slapstick spectacle that's way more silly than sleepy. The show is based on the children's book I'm still awake, still!, which got us thinking about our own favorite bedtime stories growing up. We asked our staff members about their favorite memories, and here are a few of our favorites:

After he turned out the lights, my dad would often tell me about a day in the life of a cat who loved to swim. The cat's owner would always come and fish her out of the backyard pool, thinking that all cats hated water. One day, the cat went out and bought a whole bunch of pool toys at "Cats 'R' Us." My favorite part of the story was when my dad would name all the toys the cat bought: an inflatable slide, an inflatable bed, an inflatable pinball machine. When he ran out of ideas he would just say "an inflatable....." and my sister and I would fill in the blank. Eventually, the owner came home and saw the cat in the pool with all of his toys and understood that this was actually a unique cat who loved water. I have no clue where he got the idea for the story, but it's a Frischman Family favorite.
- Audrey Frischman, Operations Assistant

My parents worked a lot when I was younger, so it was often my grandmother tucking me in at night. "Old Black Witch" was the story of choice, and the book lived in a wooden cabinet with doors that came together with a magnetic clasp. I remember the popping sound it made when I would pull it open. It wasn't so much the story that captivated me, (I can barely remember what it's about. Pancakes and witches?) but the illustrations. They were fantastic.
- Andrew Vitalo, Marketing and Communications Associate

My favorite book growing up was I'm Quick As a Cricket by Audrey Wood. It's a really easy book to memorize, so my mother and I would recite it together, making noises or dragging out our words accordingly. "I'm quick as a cricket!" [insert peeping noises], "I'm sloooooooooow as a snaaaaaaaaail..." So many of my friends now have wee ones, and it's become my book of choice to gift to new parents, with the rule being that I get to read it with their child first.
- Katie Diamond, Graphic & Media Production Coordinator

I grew up in a Spanish-speaking household and my dad used to tell us the story of "Barbazul" in Spanish. Sometimes my sister would recite back the story partly in Spanish and partly in English (and partly in baby talk, too, because at 3 years old, she didn't have full grasp of any language). Her versions of the story were so funny because she mixed languages, spoke in half sentences, and got more and more animated when she came to tell the action-packed parts of the story. We still laugh about how she told this particular story and sometimes play-act her mannerisms at family gatherings.
- Alice Arias, Controller

My favorite bedtime story was Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. It starts with a mother singing a lullaby to her newborn baby. With each turn of the page, years pass and the reader gets to see the mother comforting her son with the same lullaby throughout his life. Finally, on the last page, the grown up son comes to his elderly mother's house and holds her as he sings her the same lullaby. I loved how, every time the mom in the book sang, so did my mom! I plan on reading it to my own children one day.
- Geoff Barnes, Technical Coordinator

My three-year-old son's favorite bedtime story for a long time was Good Night, Gorilla. It's about a sleepy zookeeper who doesn't notice that all of the animals escape from their cages and follow him home. Because it's a picture book, you can tell the story however you'd like, and there are lots of little details in the pictures to keep things interesting. Before my son could talk, he loved pointing out the moon and the nosy neighbors who gathered to watch the animals as they paraded to the zookeeper's house and then back again to get tucked into their own beds at the zoo. We read that book so many times, the binding has started to come apart. Now that he can tell the story himself, I'm hoping he'll "read" the book to his little sister. No luck yet though!
- Lilaia Kairis, Director of Digital Services

Still Awake Still! runs January 18 - 20 at The New Victory Theater. Plus, we're celebrating reading all month long, so we hope you'll also join us for our interactive storytime at Barnes and Noble on January 12, or for our Storytime Sing Along Family Workshop on January 19!

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