If you read picture books to kids on any kind of regular basis - that is, if you are now or have ever been a parent, a teacher, or a librarian - chances are you have come across the books that you just can't sell. The words you can't wrap your tongue around, the insipid characters whose lines you just hate to hear yourself saying, the forced rhymes that refuse to bounce where you expect them to.
And then there will be that beautiful day when you crack open Your Book. The book that flows off your tongue, the book whose jokes you were born to sell. That book might be I Must Have Bobo! by the Rosenthals, or Banana! by Ed Vere. Could be you found your book long ago and it was Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino, or Jamberry by Bruce Degen.
I Am So Handsome was, if I may be so bold, written for me. It goes like this: a big conceited wolf goes walking through the forest, meets several creatures who are not willing to get into a whole thing with him, extracts compliments from them. That is pretty much an exact description of how I roll. Don't you wish you worked with me? Oh my god, those poor people.
In fact, I feel such a kinship with this wolf that I recorded myself reading the book. That's me, down at the bottom of this post. Unfortunately, I had some trouble getting the illustrations into the frame - my big hammy head was in the way. So you'll have to find the book yourself if you'd like to savor Mario Ramos's rather fauvist sweet fat contour lines and dumpy little James Marshall-ish characters.
And next time you have occasion to read a picture book to a kid or kids who are, oh I'd say second grade and up, I challenge you to channel your inner Eddie Izzard and let him loose on the big bad - and when I say 'bad' you know I really mean 'fabulous' - wolf:
Why didn't I do the book-in-front reading upside-down thing you ask? Beats me. But I'm not going to re-record it now. I have to go watch more Eddie Izzard clips.