A few months ago, I struck gold. I entered a contest on Classic Movie Hub for a chance to win a children’s Charlie Chaplin book – Smile: How Young Charlie Chaplin Taught the World to Laugh (and Cry). Since I collect all things Charlie Chaplin and, more importantly, have a precious 18 month old grand-baby (Maddox) who means the world to me, I hoped like crazy that I’d win.
I love reading to Maddox and absolutely LOVE sharing with him something that I am so passionate about – Old Hollywood. We watch old movies together (he loves musicals, Lewis & Martin, and Abbott & Costello best) and, now, have a book we can enjoy together. And do we ever! The story is entertaining and fun and the illustrations are deliciously unique. They’re colorful and include fun images to hold a child’s attention. The way the book is presented is extra special and original – much like Mr. Chaplin, himself.
This is a children’s book that will grow with a child. While very young, they can enjoy the big bright pictures and the (*pats self on back) wonderfully entertaining voices an adult uses while reading. When older, they’ll enjoy the wonderful story – and gain more from the lessons involved.
For collectors, like myself, they’ll get an extra kick out of the beautiful addition to their collection.
(Continued Below the Beautiful Illustrations)
But there’s more to this book than meets the eye. When you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or anyone blessed with children in their life, you notice things others may overlook.
There are a few especially beautiful things in “Smile” that one might not expect from a colorful and fun children’s book…
- When sharing the story with a child, this book gives an adult the perfect opportunity to stress the importance of being yourself. Charlie Chaplin did not pattern himself after other people – he created his own pattern! And what a pattern it was. By doing his own thing and creating his own identity, he became a legend. His name is known the world over. If you’re always trying to fit in, how are you ever going to stand out??
- Something else I love about this book is the opportunity to talk about emotions. Sometimes we are happy, for no reason. Other times, something or someone (like, say, a little Tramp??) makes us happy. Sometimes we’re sad, for no reason. Other times, something or someone makes us sad. They’re emotions and there isn’t anything wrong with them. It’s all part of “feeling” and that’s all part of life.
- There is a bonding that takes place when you sit beside a child (or with them in your lap while they’re still small enough) and share a book. I noticed it with my three daughters when they were little and I notice it with Maddox. The time spent is beautiful for all involved and creates lasting, wonderful memories.
- There are only GREAT things to be said for raising children who love books and think of reading as one of their favorite things. Books are competing with a lot of things these days and few of these things, if any, offer the benefits of reading. We have to all do our part to make sure books stay exciting and enjoyable to our children.
Last of all – and, admittedly of less importance than the benefits to a child and the adult’s relationship with him/her – I have to point out the importance of keeping Old Hollywood and its stars alive and relevant. Silent movies, the Golden Age of Hollywood, musicals, old comedians (SO much better than today’s – sorry, but it’s the truth), and all of the wonderful men and women involved should be remembered and celebrated for generations to come.
That’s where we come in.
It’s not enough to enjoy, collect, and talk about them among ourselves. We need to reach out to future generations and draw them in. All we have to do is introduce them to the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Lucille Ball, Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, Abbot & Costello, Lewis & Martin, Fred and Ginger… once these stars have their attention, they’ll take it from there.
They won’t be able to help falling in love with them.
If you collect Charlie Chaplin books and/or have children in your life, this is most definitely a book you’ll want to check out. See Smile: How Young Charlie Chaplin Taught the World to Laugh (and Cry) for more information!
The picture above? That’s one of my fur babies, Gueenie, sleeping comfortably on this wonderful book. If you’re new to my Old Hollywood Book Reviews, one of my cats is almost always involved during the photo session! They love to be the center of attention, so…. here they come in all of their glory. I wouldn’t have it any other way.