16-Page Read: Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?
At some point in the process of learning to read, kids begin to memorize their favorite books.
Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Seuss
They know exactly what happens on every page, and while they may not technically read a book cover to cover, they offer the illusion that they’re reading every word.
The first time I was aware of this with Sierra was with Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?
It wasn’t just the easy animals. She already knew that cows mooed and birds chirped and she could make the sounds, even if they were a little off. She tried to snort for a pig and instead just spit all over the place. She was sure horses said “geigh,” and sheep always uttered “ba ba black sheep.”
It was the tougher stuff, too. Lightning goes splat? Well of course it does, and now, she’s able to anticipate that page with lightning-like quickness. Butterflies whisper whisper. Horns blurp. Big cats slurp.
Every noise was a new experience, soaked up as only a toddler can. And from there, the noises were no longer new, but standard, as if our child came complete with a full set of onomatopoeias at her instant disposal, rattling off a cock-a-doodle-doo at simply the mention of a rooster, or a sizzle sizzle when seeing a frying pan.
Mr. Brown was Sierra’s favorite book for about a month, which in her mind is nearly an eternity. And though it’s a longer book – I’ll take an 8-page Sandra Boynton book at bedtime any day – it was never difficult to get through.
I suspect it has a lot to do with her understanding – her ability to match picture to sound to real life experience. The synapses are firing, now, and before long she’ll be surprising us with things we never knew existed.
It’s what makes me laugh at 3 in the morning when Sierra, awake and ready for the day despite my bleary eyes and unkempt disposition, relays to me with excitement usually reserved for Christmas.
There’s thunder outside.
It’s going BOOM BOOM BOOM!
There isn’t. And it’s not. But her relaying of sound from Mr. Brown shows how much her imagination has grown in the past year.
And despite the time, and the darkness, and the fact that I’ll now spend the next 15 minutes in a trance, attempting to get her back to sleep, I understand that this curiosity and imagination might be one of the most beautiful things in the world.