Favorite Things

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"What was your favorite thing today?" asks Mommy as she tucks Matthew into bed. His answer gets more and more outrageous: Maybe it was the singing elephants who woke him up that morning, or the supersonic car race to school, or meeting a tyrannosaurus squirrel who lives in a tree castle. But in the end none of those wildly imagined happenings was his favorite. What was? A good-night hug and kiss from Mommy, of course!

Inspired by her own bedtime ritual with her son, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley shapes a ...
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Overview

"What was your favorite thing today?" asks Mommy as she tucks Matthew into bed. His answer gets more and more outrageous: Maybe it was the singing elephants who woke him up that morning, or the supersonic car race to school, or meeting a tyrannosaurus squirrel who lives in a tree castle. But in the end none of those wildly imagined happenings was his favorite. What was? A good-night hug and kiss from Mommy, of course!

Inspired by her own bedtime ritual with her son, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley shapes a heartwarming and very funny story of the inner life of children, made all the more appealing through Laura Huliska-Beith's gloriously bold, inventive artwork.

As his mother tucks him in, Matthew describes the amazing adventures of his day.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bradley (The Weaver's Daughter) uses a nighttime ritual to launch a boy's flight of fancy. When his mother asks, "What was your favorite thing today?" young Matthew replies with several related out-of-this-world chronicles. "Daddy and I had a supersonic car. We took the checkered flag. We got a huge trophy. The elephants went wild." Huliska-Beith's (The Looking Book) makes the most of the boy's tale-spins, from an elephant driving a race car garbage truck to a "giant tyrannosaurus squirrel" at school with gnashing teeth and a spike collar. The nighttime recap gets more convoluted and silly with each page turn. "And one of the elephants lives in Wisconsin too, and so does Spencer's grandma." Readers trying to follow a line of logic in Matthew's storytelling may get lost amid his superheroes and "rude invaders" (aka the boy's sisters). In the end, Huliska-Beith provides the connection to reality; the book's penultimate scene shows Matthew's toy-strewn bedroom with a race track, stuffed elephants, a rocketship and a real squirrel climbing the tree outside his window. Embellished with bits of paper- and-fabric-collage, the artwork brims with playful curves, cartoonish characters and fanciful touches such as quilts with fabric squares and blue elephants with plaid ears. Parents may appreciate the humor in Mommy's responses, even if youngsters prefer to tell their own fanciful stories instead of following the protagonist's circuitous plot. Despite its long-winded absurdity, this could spur creative tuck-in routines. Ages 4-8. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Matthew is tucked in bed when Mommy comes in to kiss him goodnight and ask him what his favorite thing was that day. Matthew starts off on the most imaginative string of stories about all the wild things that happened that day (he wishes!). Mommy listens and exclaims at all the appropriate places until Matthew finally winds down and says, "This right now is my favorite thing" as he hugs his mother goodnight. I love the imagination Matthew has and how he knows he can make up fantastic stories and Mommy will always play along. When it comes down to it, though, he knows what is important in life. This book is sweet but not overly sentimental. The last page ensures that. The illustrations are great fun and are as wild as Matthew's stories. 2003, Dial, Ages 3 to 7.
— Joan Kindig, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-When Matthew's mom asks, "What was your favorite thing today?" as she tucks him in for the night, the boy launches into a lengthy account of his fantastic adventures. He begins with the elephant band that roused him in the morning, goes on to a trophy-winning auto race to school, an encounter with a tyrannosaurus squirrel, and a voyage to planet Wisconsin, and concludes with winning yet another trophy-this time for a water race in the tub. Mom plays along and her comments of amazement and interest are peppered throughout her son's vivid narration. In the end, the child's favorite thing is something much closer to home. Huliska-Beith's animated illustrations, done in acrylic and paper and fabric collage and placed on textured backgrounds, humorously depict Matthew's escapades. Plaid-eared elephants cavort around his bedroom singing and playing instruments. Race cars and garbage trucks sport droll fabric and paper designs. While youngsters may experience some confusion trying to follow the twists and turns of the imaginary adventures, they will surely enjoy the trip. And those alert enough to notice that many of the toys scattered around Matthew's room appear as creatures or objects in his stories may be inspired to think of some inventive ways to use their own toys as well.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ask an imaginative little boy about his favorite things, and he won't be limited to extolling the virtues of raindrops on roses. Matthew, the main character in this creative bedtime tale, spins out some whoppers as he recounts his favorite things of the day to his mother, who clearly appreciates her child's powerful imagination. Matthew recounts a day full of singing elephants, a supersonic car race with his dad, a giant tyrannosaurus squirrel, and spaceman adventures with his friends, with some funny circular interactions between the characters. Huliska-Beith does a great job of illustrating these diverse characters (especially the huge squirrel) with a combination of painting and collage. Matthew's outrageously wild tales and individualistic logic contrast well with his mother's calm, attentive demeanor in a way that will be satisfying to both children and adults. Though the ending is a little saccharine after all those creative adventures, the final page promises Matthew a visit from dancing blue hippopotamuses and leaves the door open for a sequel. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803725973
  • Publisher: Dial
  • Publication date: 6/9/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.28 (w) x 10.36 (h) x 0.49 (d)

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