I took the easy way out for our toddler’s second birthday. The Ice Box is a collection of four simple ten page board books: Anna, Elsa, Kristoff & Sven, and Olaf – “No, Snowman!” – packaged in a reasonably durable box with a velcro closure and plastic handle. We have a couple similar items that had managed to endure some wear and tear, so I was delighted to find this in stock. Combining two things a toddler likes, especially when neither one of them is food, rarely goes wrong.
Our toddler has a lot of books. Several friends were only too happy to unload any their kids had grown out of. But all of them are kind of equally special. There’s no clear favorite.
There are a few that have migrated to the bedroom due to subject matter and have become part of the nightly routine. But I don’t think one in particular has ever stood out. There’s no book that’s required daily reading. Well, there wasn’t.
The Kristoff & Sven book in this box is the best book ever. Our toddler opened the box and pulled out all the books and told me to read it. “Again.” This isn’t a big deal for a lot of parents, but without favorites reading has been a serial affair with a lot of different books strewn about the room before boredom sets in. The only other “Again” I’ve heard was for “Let it Go,” which capped at three.
I sat on the floor and read Kristoff & Sven more than a dozen times. Before the day was out, I had read it more than any other book in my life. Even for a ten page book, that remains impressive. This compelling little gem is the book that’s probably going to inspire the impulse to read.
These short sentences, in the minds of literate parents, abridge the story horribly. But they focus on single points of view and recall moments of the movie. They’re fun.
And I’m forced to acknowledge that they’re well done. Clear images worth talking about. Memorable phrasing that challenges the toddler wordhord. Apparently worth rereading and remembering. Our toddler has begun to finish the sentences: “ice harvester,” “kingdom of Arendelle,” “trusty reindeer,” etc.
I don’t understand why it was this book at this time, though I know it has something to do with the well crafted film. I’ve been interested in and critical of tie-in merchandise for a long time. But it can’t be all bad if ten pages can reinforce concepts like love and danger and helping, teach reading and opposites and difficult words, and give me some quality time with my child.
That first day, near the end of the marathon, our toddler appeared distracted when I closed the book. I slowly slid it off my lap while something else fascinated and placed it on the pile.