Every mom has at some point wished she could take a three-year nap. I have not even been a mom for three full years yet, and I know this. Every mom has also at some point wished her child would do a little more around the house. For those with infants: come on, you know you’ve wished your child didn’t fill up diapers quite so fast!
Several times over the past week Max and I have read The Boy of the Three Year Nap written by Dianne Snyder and illustrated by Allen Say. This book has so much going for it! The illustrations are gorgeous, the twist is excellent, and the lesson is perfect.Some of the honors this book has deservedly won include Caldecott Honor Book (1989), ALA Notable Children’s Book (1988), and Boston Globe/Horn Book Award (1988).
I have wanted to make sure that Max’s shelves are much more balanced. When I combed through our shelves, I saw that we have about twice as many books with solely Caucasian characters as we have with characters of other ethnic backgrounds. (I also found that we have just as many books with non-human characters as we do multi-ethnic books.)
The Boy of the Three Year Nap is perfect for this purpose. The story revolves around Taro, the boy who would rather sleep than help his poor widowed mother with anything, and how he secures the future of his family. Say shows the architecture, the clothing, the food, and even the attitudes of the people in this Japanese village through his illustrations. Even better, the folktale that is the plot by Snyder shows the priorities of the Japanese people and helps readers understand the culture on a deeper level.
Because of the storytelling, the illustrations, and the way both together open our eyes to another culture, The Boy of the Three Year Nap deserves 5 snacks: