Thursday, March 05, 2009

Easy Reader Romance

I love the Mr. Putter & Tabby books written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Arthur Howard. They're definitely my favorite "easy reader" books written in this generation (Arnold Lobel's Frog & Toad books still stand in a classic place of honor from my own childhood).

Mr. Putter is a delightful old man who reminds me of so many of the neighbors I grew up with. He's slow-moving, kind, courteous, with a love of nostalgia. He spends a lot of time on his porch reading the paper. He's got creaky knees and can (on rare occasions) be a bit grumpy. Mostly he's just an all-around good guy. He lives with his equally creaky and sweet cat, a skinny yellowish-orange feline named Tabby. Their next door neighbors are the ever cheerful and resourceful Mrs. Teaberry and her drooling, good-natured bulldog Zeke.

My six year old really likes Mr. P & T. It's her mother who is crazy about them. I keep putting them on the library hold shelf. I suspect one day we will eventually read them all.

My friend Erin (long-time reader/encourager on this blog) has already beaten us to the punch. She loves the Mr. Putter & Tabby books even more than we do. She's not only read them all, she's reviewed them all on Epinions. (I confess I've reviewed a handful of them too, because they're so much to write about! But Erin has covered every single one!)

A few months ago, when Erin was writing a lot of her Putter reviews, she and I had a fun email exchange about the series. We both agreed that we thought Mr. Putter and Mrs. Teaberry were probably falling in love, even if they didn't realize it. We certainly thought they would be wonderful as "more than friends." Of course we had a great laugh over our romantic sensibilities about an easy reader series of books (though I confessed I've been waiting for Bob the Builder to wake up and smell the coffee for years when it comes to his colleague Wendy) and we coined the phrase "Easy Reader Romance."

One of the things I love about Erin's creativity is that she doesn't let a good idea just sit there. When something inspires her, or tickles her funny bone (or both) she usually does something about it. The result is often charming and wonderful. That's definitely the case with her poem "Mr. Putter and Tabby Send the Note." If you're a fan of the series, check it out. You'll love it!


Erin said...

Awww, thanks! :)

I've missed the boat on Bob the Builder; maybe it's time I got acquainted with Bob and Wendy!

Beth said...

You're quite welcome. :-)

Bob the Builder might be an acquired taste. It's easy to become a fan if you watch him with a preschooler, but I'm not sure otherwise! ;-0

Bob's a good guy but a bit slow on the uptake. Wendy's been his "Girl Friday" for years, and there's almost nothing the woman can't do when it comes to construction or office work or bailing Bob out of a jam. There was one inspired episode where they ended up at a square dance together and sparks seemed to fly, but for the most part Wendy just seems sweet and a bit wistful around him and he seems totally clueless. wistful and clueless as clay-mation characters can be made to look!