#7: There is so much more to a book ...

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Chances are, you have a book that you grew up with that holds a special place in your heart. Maybe you liked the story, maybe you liked the characters, maybe you liked the art. For me, there was a series of Sesame Street Golden Books that were my favorites.

Titles like "The Monster at the End of this Book" starring your furry friend Grover introduced me to the notion of books jumping off the page and into my world. He spoke TO me, he tied the PAGES together, he peaked out from the next page to plead with me not to turn the page. How did he do that? He was breaking the fourth wall! "Big Bird's Red Book" made me feel smart while making me laugh hysterically. Big Bird, you see, while looking in his grocery bag for something RED to show me, was missing the endless parade of citizens, animals, catastrophe's and silliness behind him, all centered on red items. That's comedy!

I loved these books, and not just because I loved the show like all the other kids. The real reason was something I wouldn't fully appreciate until I was much older, well into my adulthood. Let me explain.

Now that I have a daughter, I read these same books to her and I find myself doing the voices for her, acting out certain scenes, pointing out the details. She's engaged and she's excited to sit on my lap with the book she's chosen. (With luck, she'll have the same nostalgia rush when she sees the books for the first time in 30 years, just like me. More on that phenomenon I share with my sister in another post.) By reading them together, we're exploring these worlds just like my mom used to do with me, with voices and movement and excitement! My mom added a flair of the theatrical to story time and perhaps that's something that stuck with me long enough to ultimately push me to the stage. Even now, when doing impressions for my daughter or performing with my comedy troupe, Out of Order Improv, I can't help but wonder if it all stems from story time.

So when I read Maurice Sendak's quote "There's so much more to a book than just the reading" that's how I interpret it. Books can be an experience, one to be shared together.

So I want to hear from you. What books were your favorites? What stories can you share about them? Let's keep story time going!

David O'Neill

Dave has worked as a graphic designer and illustrator since graduating from art school. When he's not illustrating children's books, he is an Art Director specializing in advertising and marketing, a toy designer and an improvisational comedian. Dave would like you to believe that he traveled the world documenting the habits and hobbies of lobsters, but he probably did not. Or did he? Hard to say. Dave spends his days as a husband and father to the 2 prettiest girls he knows.