10 May 2007
It Looked Like Spilt Milk
Author/Illustrator: Charles G. Shaw
Tana Hoban pioneered the starkly simplistic style of illustration in (super) early literacy books with White on Black and Black on White. These books feature crisp silhouettes of easily recognizable objects which (because of their simplicity) are effective in triggering the early stages of object recognition in young children.
Shaw's book uses the same basic concept, but takes it one step beyond. He makes it slightly more challenging by making the silhouettes look like splatters of milk that happen to take the shape of everyday objects (or Rorschach inkblots).
This approach is a tad more complex than Hoban's, so there is the slightest risk of frustrated children. But then you get to say, "Hey, there's no use crying over spilt milk!" Ba dum ching!
They won't get what's so funny, so be careful not to laugh too much at your own joke. The child might think that you are laughing at their educational struggles and may give up on learning to read altogether. Then you'll both have a very legitimate reason to cry over spilt milk.
A Handy Tip from My First Post-College Bachelor Pad: If you happen to spill milk on a carpet in your living room, do not rub it into the carpet with your foot.
I know what you're thinking: "But it seems to make so much sense in that a) the spill miraculously disappears and b) I didn't have to get off the couch to get a napkin!" I understand the temptation, but trust me... use that technique and things will turn sour quickly. You might not be crying over spilt milk, but you will be crying over your inability to keep a girlfriend because you live in a freakin' pigsty.