6. “What’s the Big Idea, Molly?” by Valeri Gorbachev


I can’t wait any longer to introduce this great writer. He has definitely earned his spot and made his name in the children’s literature. Not sure whether it is his Ukrainian background that speaks to my Polish roots, or the universal relevance of his stories, but I am a big fan and I would surely add Valeri Gorbachev’s work to any preschooler’s must-read list.

“What’s the Big Idea, Molly?” is perhaps not as great in my eyes as “Red, Red, Red”, for example. somewhere in the middle my son seems a bit distracted, as if he wanted to fast forward a few pages. But this is what we’ve been reading today, so why not to talk about it?

As a little mouse Molly struggles finding some poetic inspiration, her friends struggle with a great idea for  Turtle’s birthday. They keep suggesting the same things, until Molly gets a bright idea and they all work together to prepare a great gift for Turtle. By the way, working on the gift project turned out to be pretty inspiring for Molly.

The story, as usual in Gorbachev’s books, is super simple. The dialogues and narratives are very straightforward,  the wording is limited but carefully selected. The simplicity is not boring and awkward but appeals to children, speaks on their level. At the same time, there is always some deeper meaning, lesson or message hidden in the story. Working together, playing together, being good friends, being nice to each other. Core values conveyed in a subtle and touching  way.

I think it is great to read to our children books filled with numbers, letters and other elements that make them great students. But let’s not forget about the books that make them great friends and great people.

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