Tuesday, August 5, 2008

An era that's slipping away...

The Paperboy
By Dav Pilkey
1996, Orchard Books
Paperback edition by Scholastic
Winner, 1997 Caldecott Honor Award.

Midway through reading this book to my daughter at bedtime, I choked up. There's nothing particularly sad about the text -- it was more that Pilkey's spare, evocative writing suddenly felt like a eulogy for the business that has shaped most of my adult life, newspaper journalism.

It's been three weeks since I packed up my desk in the newsroom, and nearly each day since has brought another round of bad news for the business. Once central to community life, our daily papers now seem to going the way of the bowling alley. Was it just a dozen years ago that young boys woke before dawn, climbed on their bikes and pedaled the morning edition around their neighborhoods?

In any case, this lovely picture book seemed like a fitting starting point for a project I suddenly have time for, cataloging titles that beg for inclusion in any family's storytime rotation.

Even if you're not a journalist, you'll love the dim, sleepy illustrations in "The Paperboy," and the way the story unfurls like a poem, lingering over the wonderful secret moments that children appreciate best.

The paperboy knows his route by heart,
so he doesn't ever think about

which house to pedal to.

Instead he is thinking about other things.
Big Things.

And small things.

And sometimes he is thinking about

nothing at all.

1 comment:

Anne said...

Do you know the Scholastic video series? We love them--actors read classic Scholastic books while a camera hovers over the illustrations, panning in & out.

I first learned of this book b/c it's an "extra" on a scholastic video. It's a lovely, moving, haunting book.

I'm so sorry you got downsized but happy to find you in the blogosphere and eager to read more of your picks as we have lots of faves in common.--Anne (of Fernham, which isn't really about kids books except once in a while...)