Clemyjontri is quite the park. It has a carousel and a small train has just been added. The park has a rubberized surface and extensive play equipment with slides, bridges, rock climbing and ladders that kids can literally get lost in. There are tire swings and a maze. There are even musical instruments built into the equipment. It is amazing.
One of our favorite parts of the park is the Peter Rabbit book statute. As you can see from the slide show above, it has been a favorite spots for pictures since well before Anne was even born. Traditionally, the most recent picture of the girls in front of the Peter Rabbit book statue becomes the wallpaper on my phone.
The Peter Rabbit pictures reminded me of a wonderful book four-year-old Anne and I ran across by chance at the Alexandria Library. The book is called Dear Peter Rabbit. It is written by Alma Flor Ada and is illustrated by Leslie Tryon. The book is written entirely in letter form and I've gotten the impression, due to notes in the library book itself as well as a few videos online, that classroom teachers use this book to teach letter writing. I'm sure it is wonderful for that, but I must say it is quite an enjoyable read on its own terms.
Dear Peter Rabbit cleverly combines the stories of Peter Rabbit, The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Little Red Riding Hood. Goldilocks turns out to be Goldilocks McGregor (yes, the fair-haired daughter of Peter's nemesis Mr. McGregor). Peter Rabbit happens to be friends with Pig 1, Pig 2 and Pig 3. The wolves from Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs rely on each other for comfort and advice after their bad experiences. This book is charmingly written with beautiful illustrations.
Anne loves this book! She has had me read it repeatedly at bedtime over the past few weeks. After I read the book, she enjoys attempting to "read" each letter herself. Considering she doesn't actually read yet, this means she composes her own clever letters mixed in with what she can remember from each letter. In addition to being a great textbook for letter writing, this books is a great precursor to what readers will encounter in later literature. The epistolary novel was a standard format in the early days of the novel and is often revisited by authors to this day. It is wonderful to be exposed to this format so early in one's reading life.
Also, spotting references in one work to other works of literature is a key part of the study of literature. For example, one cannot understand T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, without recognizing his references to Shakespeare and the Arthurian legend. With Dear Peter Rabbit, Anne became so excited when she first recognized a new fairy tale being reference. Sure, she is a long way from analyzing T.S. Eliot, but I do believe this book aids that skill she will eventually need.
Anne and I are happy to give this book five stars.