This past Sunday we were thrilled to welcome David Shannon to the store for a noon visit. When I left for the trade show on Tuesday we had about 50 RSVPs. When I came home on Friday that number had swelled to 80, and by the morning of the visit we were topping off at 110. Word seemed to spread like wildfire among folks in our area that he was coming and it was so much fun to see parents as excited as their kids to meet him.
David gave a great show. His reading of his new book, Jangles, was absolutely wonderful. It’s not surprising that a book about a giant fish that is a storyteller would be such a great read aloud by the author. The kids, and there were a lot of them under five, were riveted. David had them in the palm of his hand as he read the story. Little ones were leaning in trying to get closer and parents were still. Being on Lake Champlain made the story of Jangles that much more real to all the kids, and I’m sure the next time they go on the water they will all think of Jangles.
David’s interactions with the kids was great. He moved around the room and this added to the vitality of the event. If I thought the kids were engaged during the story, they were besides themselves when he taught them how to draw the character David, from his Caldecott Honor book, No, David! First you start with the head. It’s a round head, but not a perfectly round one. “Don’t get out a plate and trace his head.”
The flawed nature of David’s face was really fun for the kids. David Shannon used his own face to show why David’s eyes were uneven: his eyes are uneven. The kids loved this! He turned toward every section of the room and said, “Look, my ears are lined up, but where are my eyes?” And sure enough, they were just a little bit uneven. At each step of the drawing process he just got funnier and funnier. There may be no better noise than a roomful of giggling kids when they realize that a grownup is talking about picking noses. One of the older kids was so focused on learning to draw David that he drew a very good rendition of the character on the back of his store receipt.
Every part of the drawing of David was accompanied by an explanation of why he’s drawn that way. From bad teeth to cowlicks to one nostril being bigger (we’re back to nose-picking here, and the kids loved it) and to not staying in the lines when we draw, everything was about accepting imperfections and embracing them. I loved this.
The signing line was long and no kid got impatient and there were no tears, which totally surprised me. David was very self-sufficient with his signing and needed no help flapping or with post-its, so I continued to sell books and Elizabeth went up and the down the line recommending books to people and that really helped the line stay lively.