Thursday, March 1, 2012

Elvis: The Complete Illustrated Children's Book?

Not many things at home are off limits for our nearly one and a half year old daughter. Except my Elvis records and books. ”Those are daddy's,” I say and try to look her sternly in the eyes when she approaches my collection. Which in a way is a stupid thing to do, as I want her to get to know her father's great idol.

Usually she stays clear, but about a week ago she pulled out a big book titled Elvis: The Complete Illustrated Record. For some reason I let her get away with it, and soon found myself leafing through it, pointing at different records and telling her stuff like ”this was Elvis' first LP” and ”this was the first Elvis' album your father bought.”

Now, for the last couple of days, my daughter has developed kind of a routine. Looking at me, she says, ”Is,” which is her way of saying ”Elvis,” points at the book and indicates with her arms that she wants me to pick her up and place her in my lap. She then utters one of her favorite words, which is ”bebis.” (Swedish for ”baby”) Grabbing the book, I turn the leaves to page 76 where there's a picture of Elvis from G.I. Blues, surrounded by six babies. She points happily to the picture and says once again, ”bebis.”

But she recognizes other things in the book as well. On one page there's a shot of Elvis sitting on his bike in the movie Clambake. Spotting this, she always imitates the sound of a motorcycle. And when we come to the still from Paradise, Hawaiian Style of Elvis and all those dogs aboard a helicopter, she mimics a dog barking.

She also says the Swedish word for ”Santa” when I point at the cover of the ”Merry Christmas Baby” single, and ”at” (meaning ”hatt” which is Swedish for ”hat”) when we come to a full page photo of Elvis wearing a Texas Stetson hat at the February 1970 Houston press conference. And of course there's a lot of ”Is” as we look at all the photos of Elvis.

The authors and rock writers Roy Carr and Mick Farren published The Complete Illustrated Record in 1982 as ”the definite critical guide to the complete career of Elvis Presley,” documenting and examining his every record and movie. I wonder what they would think of it being used as a children's book 30 years later?


Anonymous said...

This is a great story. Only daddies really know how you felt when you wrote this :-)

Thomas said...

Thank you anonymous! It really is a great feeling sitting with my daughter looking through that big book, sensing her joy and excitement when she recognizes things in it. Especially Elvis :-)