Welcome to the fourth installment in my series about the books Emma and I love. At the end of this post, I've added the links to my previous posts in this series.
This Little Piggy by Lucy Su is one of several books that my parents gave Emma when she was a baby; now she's at a great age to really enjoy it. She points out all the little details and different animals on each page, pretends to cry when she gets to the page where the last little piggy is lost and is happy when he runs home to all the other piggies! It's a lovely elaboration on the rhyme, and in fact the last page has an illustration of a mother telling the rhyme to her little boy on his toes.
Emma has another book based on the same rhyme, a little board book, now sadly somewhat the worse for wear, with a finger puppet piggy which she has always loved playing with.
Since I'm just getting to the exciting finale of Istanbul Passage, which I wrote about in last month's We Love Books post, I thought I'd choose an old favourite to write about here. I first read Beloved by Toni Morrison many years ago and loved it immediately. It's the beautiful, scary, sad and horrifying story of a former slave, Sethe, and her youngest daughter, Denver, the only ones left living in their house after the twin boys are driven away by the ghost of Denver's sister, killed as a baby by her own mother and wreaking spiteful havoc in the house for years.
The novel revisits the terrible events surrounding Sethe's escape from slavery and journey north, during which Denver is born, but the bulk of the story is set years later in Cincinnati when Denver is 18 and a mysterious young woman named Beloved arrives at the house.
The way the story is written just makes you want to keep on reading. Toni Morrison's style is beautiful, warm and exact; nothing is superfluous, each word is a necessary part of the story and adds to the voice that gets into your head.
Here are the first few lines:
"124 was spiteful. Full of a baby's venom. The women in th house knew it and so did the children. For years each put up with the spite in his own way, but by 1873 Sethe and her daughter Denver were its only victims. The grandmother, Baby Suggs, was dead, and the sons, Howard and Buglar, had run away by the time they were thirteen years old - as soon as merely looking in a mirror shattered it (that was the signal for Buglar); as soon as two tiny hand prints appeared in the cake (that was it for Howard). Neither boy waited to see more; another kettleful of chickpeas smoking in a heap on the floor; soda crackers crumbled and strewn in a line next to the door-sill."
Read my previous We Love Books! posts:
We Love Books! #1
We Love Books! #2: Christmas books
We Love Books! #3: February 2016