I love children's literature. There are so many treasures to be found on the well-turned pages of so many children's books, and it is so exciting to find one worth pondering, or reading over and over to the delight of eager young listeners, and to the olders as well. One such treasure is from The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White:
"My dear," said her husband, the cob, one afternoon, "do you never find your duties onerous or irksome? Do you never tire of sitting in one place and in one position, covering the eggs, with no diversions, no pleasures, no escapades, or capers? Do you never suffer from boredom?"
"No," replied his wife. "Not really."
"Isn't it uncomfortable to sit on eggs?"
"Yes, it is," replied the wife. "But I can put up with a certain amount of discomfort for the sake of bringing young swans into the world."
I love that. Life as a stay-at-home-mom can, indeed, be onerous at times. But is it not worth every hardship to raise these gifts God has entrusted to us?! I never expected to be spurred on in my vocation during the evening's read-aloud, but there it was. One of those treasures.
Another evening last Lent I read a new-to-me, but well-known, book to the boys, The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. My goodness, talk about a treasure. By the end, the lump in my throat was so big, my oldest asked me if I was going to cry. I denied it, but truth be told, I was close. It is a sweet book about a tree that gave everything to and for the boy she loved. A wonderful Lenten read for young children, and even for kids who are a bit older. For us it prompted a conversation comparing this story to the greatest story of Jesus, The One Who gave everything for us. Worth pondering, to be sure.
Currently we are in the middle of The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. What a fun book. I think I'm enjoying it as much or more than the boys, and they are laughing aloud regularly at the silliness that jumps off the pages. The story is the adventures of a boy who passes through a tollbooth into the fantastic land of Dictionopolis where among other things, words are taken (and given) literally. For example, when the boy's car won't start and he is questioning why it won't, the native of Dictionopolis informs him, "Oh, it goes without saying." So when they are quiet, the car goes! The plays-on-words are seemingly endless. We've yet to get to Digitopolis, where numbers rule. I'm sure it will be equally clever.
There are so many books I want to read, and so little time, but if I can't sink my teeth into a book for myself (how would that phrase play out in Dictionopolis?!), I do find time to read to the boys. I love it and so do they. And as time goes by, their books are getting more involved and interesting. We're definitely beyond Go Dog Go, not quite to The Lord of the Rings, and now exploring a wonderful world of kids' lit in between.
We'll do our best to find all the treasures all along the way.