We are excited to bring you Owen, a Caldecott Honor for our first Double Scoop of 2009, by Kevin Henkes. Kevin is an award winning author and illustrator. He has written several picture books including the 2005 Caldecott Award book Kitten’s First Full Moon. In addition, he has also written several novels including a Newberry Honor Book – Olive’s Ocean.
Holly: So, did you like the book?
Cari: I did I thought it was very cute.
Holly: Thanks for reading it over the phone to me again. Yes, I agree and, obviously (still chuckling), the blanket fairy makes me crack-up every time I read the story. I love that part!
Cari: Me too, it’s hilarious. What a cute idea to get rid of your kid’s blanket. Too bad for them that Owen’s so ingenious and thwarts his parent’s plans. Shoving the blanket down his pants so the fairy couldn’t get it.
Holly: Yeah. . . there just aren’t words to describe the picture. You’ve gotta see it! The image is indelibly marked on my memory. I just think about it and laugh. It reminds me a little of when our brothers used to store things in their underwear. I think it’s a fairly common experience for little ones to try and use undies as a “little pocket”.
Cari: When did you first hear about this book?
Holly: We have loved this book since my oldest child (P) – a blankie lover, received it as a gift in preschool from his teachers. He has always liked it.
Cari: My daughter really liked it too. She wanted to read it two times in a row, but announced boldly that she does “NOT want the blanket fairy to get my blanket.”
Holly: P didn’t approve of any of the tricks in the book for getting rid of blankets either. He didn’t want any of those things to happen to his blanket. He doesn’t take his blanket outside because he doesn’t want it to get dirty.
Cari: My daughter doesn’t take her blanket anywhere because she doesn’t want to lose it. And she doesn’t want to get too old for her blanket. She wants to sleep with it all night and she definitely doesn’t want handkerchiefs. “Never!” she says.
Holly: A family member suggested that when my son had a certain birthday we should have a special blanket burning ceremony because he would be too old and grown up for one anymore. He did NOT like that idea. So, we won’t be doing that, the consequences would be too much for me to handle. I don’t have a problem with him keeping his blanket at home on his bed. To be used when he is at home. He’s never wanted to take it to school.
Cari: I like the pictures, they’re really fun, I am a little concerned about my daughter getting a few ideas like Captain Plunger. Although she doesn’t like to get dirty and she definitely does not want to bury her blanket.
Holly:The nosy neighbor, Mrs. Tweezers, bugged me a little bit. At the same time she gave Owen’s parents a lot of good ideas, although none of them worked. He wasn’t her child. It just goes to show that sometimes parents have to figure out what works for their family.
Cari: The neighbor reminded me of Wilson on Home Improvement. You never quite saw her whole face just like Wilson.
Holly: The main difference between Wilson and Mrs. Tweezers, is that most of Wilson’s ideas seemed to work and help . . .
Cari: . . . as long as Tim didn’t mess them up,
Holly: Yeah, Mrs. Tweezer’s ideas seemed to be more busy body nosy neighbor ‘pointers’. Parents are the ones who know their children the best.
Now, for a trip down memory lane . . .
Holly: So, we have a brother, who shall remain nameless, who still has his special blanket. If you passed him on the street, he would seem totally normal. For all intents and purposes he is. Even though he is almost 30 and still has a blankie.
Cari: Actually we have another one, who still has his special blanket, the one in medical school.
Cari: Yep. They’ve both passed their blankets onto their children.
Holly: Hmm. Well, my son’s blanket did belong to my husband (although he obviously didn’t love it to pieces or it wouldn’t still be here). Actually, I take that back. Our brothers’, especially K’s, was loved to pieces and still passed on.
Cari: B’s was called the goatwing, I don’t think K’s ever had a name.
Holly: Yeah, that’s the blankie he would hide under and wipe spit on his eyes pretending to cry so we would get in trouble for picking on him.
Cari: Actually I think his mother-in-law put a new back on it to extend it’s life for him.
Holly: It was a sweet day when I was going through all those old baby clothes with Mom and came across, drum roll please . . . a receiving blanket made out of the same material as K’s life-long companion. Keep in mind that this was relatively recently. I was so excited. I knew that K had been searching to find the same material to resurrect his favorite blankie. You should have seen the smile on his face when I showed him! You know that smile when old friends are reunited? Yep. That’s the one.
Holly: And now I think we should talk about Cari’s favorite blanket and how our mom tried to get rid of it by hiding it in the garbage can. The OUTside garbage can. She made the fatal mistake of not putting it in on trash day.
Cari: So what about my blanket?
Holly: I don’t know if you had a special feeling to look in the trash can, or if you had looked everywhere, and couldn’t find it. But, as all children do when missing a beloved item, we looked in the trash and sure enough, there it was. We even had to dig to find it. What proud detectives we were! When we finally pulled it out it had a big hole in the middle of it so you wore it like a shawl. You would twirl around and it would spin so beautifully (wistful sigh).
Cari: I have no recollection of this. I do remember playing with it outside wearing it as a shawl.
Holly: I probably remember it because I thought it made a really cool shawl and I was jealous.
Cari: Ahhhh HAAA! Holly get’s jealous . . .
Holly: And then, you shimmied it down to your waist and it became a really cool skirt. Oh, was I jealous of the spread on that skirt. What magnificent twirling! I might have turned a little green with envy. I am pretty sure we started playing pioneers. K’s blanket was the wagon cover.
Cari: So you did get jealous? But notice you didn’t cut it up. Wait a minute, did you put it in the trash? Hmm.
Holly: That would have been a great idea you probably deserved it . . . too bad I was not so conniving! I just wallowed in self pity.( pathetic sigh). That might have been when we started using our parachute as a skirt. I think our youngest brother uses his blanket, and he is still teenager enough that he might resent us telling that little juicy bit of information. K on the other hand, I don’t know if he ever cared that anyone knew. He took it to college, and then all the way to South Africa with him, probably to sleepovers too. It went pretty much everywhere. I don’t think he took it to school – he left it at home during the day. He took it to the shower with him though because half the time it was his towel. He would come out of the shower in the mornings dressed in his blankie (and only his blankie) to make the walk down the hall. Woah! Um, no wonder I have nightmares.
Cari: He probably doesn’t want us to say that. Besides, this blog is supposed to be G rated.
Holly: Oops. Sorry.
Cari: His blanket was more important than being teased so his blanket went with him. I wonder if he took it to Scout camp? He even sewed it in half once to preserve it.
Holly: I remember once being on a top-secret M&M hunt digging through Mom & Dad’s dresser. We were so astonished when we found K’s baby blanket, with the binkie still tied to the corner. I’m pretty sure we totally gave ourselves away by our shouts of utter disbelief and astonishment. “So that’s where he lost his blankie!
No wonder we couldn’t find it anywhere. We searched and searched and searched. I wonder how it could have got in there? Hmmm. . . there really must be a blankie fairy. I bet a fairy came and took it in the night. . . Because Mom and Dad would never have done that. K was so sad when he lost his binkie and white blankie . . .”
Maybe that’s why he got so inseparably attached to his other blanket.
Cari: So what do you think leads to such devoted blankie worshiping?
Holly: I don’t know. I’m sure it’s got to do with self-comfort. I’m trying to remember if I learned anything in Psych 101. Nope. Nadda. Actually, I take that back. I learned about how to take tests, but that’s a topic for a different discussion.
Cari: What ever happened to your blankets, Holly?
Holly: Ahem. I still have them.
Cari: You do?
Holly: Yep. I could never pick a ‘favorite’ one, I didn’t want the others to feel bad. So I rotated through my three blankies pretty regularly. I took good care of them. I keep them in my memory box. Every once in a while, I’ll open the box and pull out my most ‘favorite’ one (don’t tell the others the red one is a little more my favorite, it might cause problems) and cuddle it. Maybe sleep with it a night or two. Then put it away until I need another trip down memory lane. Didn’t we say we’re still young at heart?
Cari: Hmm. None of mine survived.
Holly: Do you really think anything breakable could survive your childhood? I sometimes think I barely survived (chuckle, chuckle).
Cari: Good point.