It's surprising to me when people have never heard of/read a certain book that I consider a classic. Then again, I work in children's book publishing and am a life-long lover of kid's books. On Saturday, I spent the afternoon at the Bohemian Beer Garden for a good-bye party of a couple with a one-year-old daughter. The husband (who is not in the children's book industry) was reminiscing about a conversation we had towards the beginning of our friendship when I asked him what children's books he remembered loving as a kid, and he couldn't really remember any of note. But now that he has a child, he's discovering the books for the first time. One in particular he mentioned was The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, which many of you will remember is my all-time favorite picture book. I was delighted that he, too, loved this book (which was given to them as a gift), marveling at how beautiful the illustrations were, and how lyrical the text was in it's simple, quiet way. It was nice to hear him "get" picture books. (He also said that In the Night Kitchen seemed like a book that was created while on drugs! I can see where he's coming from there.)
A group of us eventually went back to the couples' apartment where I pulled out The Snowy Day and read it again. Man, what a perfect book that is! The footprints in the snow page (first one way, then the other), the sky on the spread where Peter climbs up the snowbank and then slides down, the beauty and color of the snow in the last spread. A couple of people mentioned that they hadn't ever read it (shocking!), so I eagerly gave it to them to read. It was so fun seeing them experience the book for the first time.
Oh, if I could one day edit a book that becomes as beloved as The Snowy Day, I think I could die happy. What are some of the books that you wish you edited/wrote/illustrated? There are so many for me.