The other day, Youngest says, “I can’t wait for Easter.”
To which I had several thoughts:
- He has a strong faith and is excited about the resurrection of Jesus.
- He needs to replenish his sugar levels.
- Yay, another few days off of school.
It turned out to be none of these. “I can’t wait for my new pair of baseball pants.”
Yep, that rascally rabbit always deposits a pair of baseball pants in the little boys’ Easter baskets. He must know they love baseball and need a nice, clean, new pair each year.
This pattern of predictability got me thinking about writing–picture books in particular. For parents, rereading the same sentence or phrase or idea can be BORING. It might make us want to bury the book in the nearest dumpster. However, kids actually like this predictability.
The repetition builds anticipation. It helps the youngest listeners stay involved. It creates a sense of connection because they can better understand the rhythm of the story and guess what will happen next.
One of my kids’ favorite books was Cookie’s Week. Okay, one of my faves, too.
- On Monday, Cookie did something naughty and made a mess.
- On Tuesday, Cookie did something naughty…
- On Wednesday…
Yeah, Cookie got into all sorts of mischief throughout the week. The kids delighted in knowing that as each day passed, Cookie would be in trouble once again, whether for scattering pots and pans, knocking over trash cans, falling in the toilet or pulling down the curtains. By Sunday, they were sure more calamity would befall this curious kitten.
Yet Sunday suggests that maybe today, Cookie will rest. Except that the curled up ball of fluff has one eye open on the last page.
Predictability isn’t necessarily a bad thing in picture books. Or in Easter baskets.
Traditions can be powerful tools both in books and in life.
What are your Easter Traditions? Do they feel tired and worn-out or comforting? How can you keep them alive and exciting for generations to come?
Curious minds want to know.