Day 122 – It Looked Like Spilt Milk

American abstract artist Charles Green Shaw was born on May 1, 1892 – so in his honor, for the 122nd book of our storybook year we selected Mr. Shaw’s classic 1947 picture book “It Looked Like Spilt Milk”. With a simple and compelling blue and white color scheme and spare repetitive text, this is a timeless picture book that is great for family read aloud or for beginning readers to have a go on their own.

milkIn a sense, “It Looked Like Spilt Milk” is a mystery book…albeit fairly elementary. If the ever-changing white silhouette on each page wasn’t spilt milk…what was it? [Spoiler Alert]:  Eventually, the reader finds out that what at first looked like spilt milk was actually a cloud in the sky! The repetition and the number of alternatives (fourteen) before you get to the answer may lose some older listeners. However, the mystery – and the implied questions on every page – facilitated interaction that helped to keep our youngest engaged (“Sometimes it looked like a Squirrel.” Was it a squirrel? “…it wasn’t a squirrel”…so…what WAS it?).

I imagine that this book can also offer an opening for discussion of the other things that you may have seen in the clouds; who hasn’t enjoyed some time lying in the grass and looking for definition among the drifting shapes overhead? Which brings me to the other reason we chose this book: clouds!…a subject which fits nicely with our water cycle theme…even if the “April” showers are technically over now that we are in May.

Regardless, “It Looked Like Spilt Milk” is a classic picture book for a reason – I can’t imagine that it ever gets old or ever feels dated. Happy Birthday, Mr. Shaw…and thanks for the book!

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