Underwear is funny

Todd suggest polka-dot underwear. Max and Calvin like superheroes.

Todd suggests polka-dot underwear. Max and Calvin like superheroes.

Here’s what I saw when I walked into the house the other day: two naked little boys, jumping on a mini trampoline with underwear on their heads.

Underwear is the cause for a lot of laughter at our house. Max put his on backwards recently, “just because I felt like it.” Calvin went with the opposite effect and didn’t wear it when we went sled riding a couple of months ago. I discovered this while we were changing out of wet clothes. When I asked him why he said, “I didn’t feel like it.”

My boys take great delight in Todd Parr’s, The Underwear Book. It provides helpful underwear Do’s and Don’ts. “Do go shopping for underwear with a hippo. Don’t let her try it on. (It may rip).” Other helpful hints include, “Do wear underwear on the first day of school,” “Don’t bring it for show–and-tell.”

It reminds me of Glamour Magazine’s fashion dos and don’ts. (If you’re not familiar with it, the magazine would photograph unsuspecting subjects on the streets and block out the eyes of the fashion don’ts.) But Todd is kind; there is no reason to block out eyes in any of his books. His stories and colorful illustrations address feelings, differences, being kind, families, and other groovy topics. That’s why he’s so popular and a best seller. Personally, I like to think he’s the godson of SARK with his bright colors and inclusive messages. (Anyone out there remember SARK?)

If you’re going to a party this weekend, you may want to heed Todd’s advice, “Do wear polka-dot underwear, don’t wear a plain pair.”

Where to find the book and more info

Our first introduction to Todd Parr was when the boys’ older brother bought them The Earth Book. We’ve since read many of Todd’s books. Go to his website to learn more.

Here are two more awesome books about underwear that the boys and I love: Brief Thief written by Michaël Escoffier and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo. Picasso’s Trousers by Nicholas Allan is a family favorite.

Worms. Need I say more?

Max with his friends the worms.

Max with his friends the worms.

April showers bring May flowers and…… worms. My boys have been digging worms since they were two. They seek them out, especially when it rains or when in the woods. I asked them why they like worms so much and they told me, “They are squiggly.”

Worms have long had a place in children’s literature. There is the most well-known worm, Richard Scarry’s Lowly, who not only has adventures but is stylish with his outfits and one shoe. When I was in the fourth grade, my teacher Ms. Shomburg would read us Thomas Rockwell’s How to Eat Fried Worms and laugh so hard she would put her head down on the desk.

Elise Gravel’s The Worm is both scientific and funny. While learning about the worm, her illustrations make comments like, “I am NOT disgusting.” Gravel’s artwork explains that earthworms are useful as recyclers and delicious for fish.

"My favorite part is when the worms have a party in the dogs stomach!"

“My favorite part is when the worms have a party in the dog’s stomach!”

Her coverage of some of the more icky facts about worms delight Max and Calvin most. “My favorite part is when the worms have a party in the dog’s stomach!” said Max. It’s true. Parasite worms are shown having a meal in a dog’s table and saying, “Pass the salt, please!”

Next time you are out in the woods, pick up a rock and say hi to your friends the worms!

Where to find the book and other info

Gravel has written several other awesome kids books about slugs, head lice, spiders, and my least favorite, rats. (That’s a story for another day.) They are all part of her Disgusting Critters series. Learn more about her and buy The Worm and more on her website.

Another great book about worms is Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer by Carol Brendler; illustrations by Ard Hoyt.