Imaginative City: On My Way to Buy Eggs

On My Way to Buy EggsMom says:
There is a certain category of urban picture book which emphasizes the kind of independent adventures a child can have while roaming the neighborhood. Ezra Jack Keats was a master at this. His books were set in New York City, of course, but Chih-Yuan Chen takes us across the world to Taiwan in  On My Way to Buy Eggs. Shau-yu's mother sends her out to buy -- you guessed it -- eggs, and on the way she has the kind of encounters that would pass right by an adult, but to a small child become full of wonder. She follows the shadow made by a cat walking on a roof, looks at the newly colored world through a blue marble and takes on a whole new role when she finds a pair of eye glasses.

The text is simple, but charming, like Shau-yu herself, and I love books like this which celebrate the way a child's spirit takes off when she is given some freedom to explore the city in her own way. The imaginative aspect of the story will be familiar to all young listeners and the glimpses of a Taiwanese neighborhood will provide just the right touch of the exotic.

Big Kid says: She had fun, didn't she?
Little Kid says: Blue!


Dr. Madeline Boskey said...

Love your blog! Thanks for following me. I am a NYC gal in my heart. Born there, lived there, and now am working there. Hoping to move back.


Lindsay N. Currie said...

I love the idea of this book, really love it. I wish that in my urban environment, Chicago, which is an absolutely fantastic city, we could feel safe to let our children explore their own neighborhood. We live in East Lakeview, which is beautiful and for an urban area, low on crime but we still couldn't do this. Too bad the way times have changed. Wonderful review though!

Storied Cities said...

@ Dr. Mad. I didn't grow up in NYC, but I feel like I've lived here all my life.
@ Lindsay. I know what you mean, I wonder how I'll feel about my boys wandering around. If you know any good books set in Chicago, let me know!

Callie Feyen said...

To use your phrase, I love that Keats' books show children "exploring the city in their own way." I grew up in Chicago and I have such fond memories of doing just that. Now that I'm in DC, I hope that my daughters have the opportunity to do the same. Or, like in The Snowy Day, call a friend from "across the hall" to go out and play in the snow.

Pen and Ink said...

I love his work. I never use one of his first lines in a post because he illustrates his own books and I am always looking for authors who didn't illustrate their own books. (I am an author and I am interested in seeing the words that cross an editor's desk with no picture attached.)I just posted First lines from First Picture books http://thepenandinkblog.blogspot.com
This time I included in the post links to older first line posts. I got the idea from Nathan Bransford’s blog. http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2011/01/how-to-write-good-blog-comment.html
If you are looking for a PB to read....But I don't think any of them are city oriented.
I love little kid's response!!!!

Katie said...

I love the way you include your kids' reactions to the books you read - such a cute idea! The city theme of your blog is great, too. Thanks for your comment to my 2011 resolutions!

Raising a Happy Child said...

Another good book! I was interested to read comments. It's sad that we are afraid to let our children go anywhere unattended nowadays - so much wonder is lost when there is always an adult nearby. I am resolved to give my daughter a lot of freedom when she is over 7 (maturity age in my days)

Even in Australia said...

I'm definitely going to request this one from the library!

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