No! The Universal Word of Parenting

How often do you find yourself uttering the word NO to your children throughout the day? If the answer was more than you like, CONGRATULATIONS! You are normal! That word is practically the basis of parenthood. We as parents mean well, after all, we are navigating through tough terrain on a daily basis. We strive to teach and protect while our little ones display extra bursts of mischievousness.

A child is a natural explorer and pusher of buttons. I call them little scientists. A child’s world is the opposite of an adult’s world. A child lives  in the present, moment to moment. Where as adults, on the contrary live in the future, planning each step. Indeed a grand paradox! That is why I love books that bring together these two worlds.

No, David No! by David Shannon, is a exemplary book that strengthens the mother/child bond and aides in depicting to little ones why the word no is often repeated. The artwork is capturing and vivid. Your toddler or preschooler will find it both relatable and enjoyable.

I tend to take great interest in a book when I know the backstory of the author. Authors use writing as art and it’s fascinating to learn what inspired them to create their masterpiece. Here is a note about the author of this book.

A few years ago, my mother sent me a book I made when I was a little boy. It was called No, David, and it was illustrated with drawings of David doing all sorts of things he wasn’t suppose to do. The text consisted entirely of the words “no” and “David.” (They were the only words I knew how to spell.) I thought it would be fun to do a remake celebrating those familiar variations of the universal “no” that we all hear growing up. Of course, “yes” is a wonderful word…but a “yes” doesn’t keep crayon off the living room wall.

My little one is quite mischievous and he easily aligned himself to David’s character, expressions and adventures. Especially the scene where he is jumping on the bed and his mom shouts, “SETTLE DOWN!”

The following are some “familiar variations” of the universal “no” children will read throughout the book.

Come back here!

Be quiet! 

Don’t play with your food!

That’s enough!

Go to your room!

Stop that this instant!

Not in the house!

Toward the end of the story, David is sitting in a corner on time out because he broke a vase while playing baseball in the house. The image is of David looking towards his readers shedding a tear. That illustration particularly tugged on my mommy heart strings. For me, it was a reminder that children feel and experience emotions exactly as adults do. A child who is exploring, testing and often pushing our patience beyond limits, does so innocently. They are in the process of learning to control their emotions and desires. Some of us adults are still learning to do this.

The illustration of David with his arms wide open, as if reaching for his mother’s embrace, along with the text, “Davey, come here”; leaves you with an open interpretation of how children need to consistently feel loved despite their behavior. This is reinforced with the last image of David and his mother embracing and the text, “Yes, David…I love you!”

What I appreciated most was the author’s message of unconditional love at the end of the book.

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