Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Me First by Max Kornell
Nancy Paulsen Books
Rating: 5 stars
There is something pretty great about this book. Max Kornell manages to write and illustrate this story right at the intersection of Funny and Insightful. And he manages to right my perspective on my kids' bickering--which I appreciate because it's been off lately due to the normal mix of stomach bug grossness, shared space closeness, too much sleepiness, too much in-car-ness, too little outdoorness.
In this great new book by a great, new-ish author, two siblings argue about who is first--who is going first in a game, who got there first, who should do something first. Sound familiar? Right. The afternoon hike and picnic is full of "Me first!" and "Me first!" and still more "Me first!" Their parents are pretty calm about the whole thing--one day I'll be that calm--and when the two kids want to go home a different way, the parents allow them, as long as they go together.
On the new way home, they go through a few rounds of "Me first!s" that backfire--Martha tries a new berry first and has to spit it out because it's gross. Hal wants to go through an old fallen log but comes back out quickly after realizing it's filled with millions of cobwebs.
Hmm. Maybe this "Me first!" thing has its downsides.
But they don't learn this. Not yet, anyway, until Martha wants to cross a stream on a fallen log--"Me first!" she insists. The log breaks, she falls down in the water and is shaken up. Hal sweetly helps her up, and they walk back home together, arm in arm.
Sobered by the fall, a wave of politeness washes over them: Hal to Martha when they got to the front door: "You had quite a tumble back there. You go ahead." Martha to Hal when it was time to wash up before dinner: "You wash up first. You're the one that got covered in cobwebs."
These sweet manners continue through dinner. And after dinner Dad comments on how polite they are being towards each other. Mom quips, "Yes, but I noticed it first."