I 'Break' for Children's Books

Saturday, July 03, 2010
By Jill Earl

As I read my way through the memoirs, poetry, writing how-tos and other genres of this year’s reading list, children’s books continue to be a favorite go-to for me. Not only do I gain inspiration from them, but they’re a great break from more ‘adult’ reads.

One of my childhood favorites is The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. It doesn’t matter that I know the adventures of Water Rat, Mole, Badger and Toad by heart. Each time I read, I relive the wonder of Mole’s discovery of life above ground. My mouth waters at the feasts they eat. I shake my head and laugh at Toad’s ability to stay in trouble and his friends’ faithfulness to stand by him through everything.

Another favorite is Julie Andrews Edwards’ Mandy. Ms. Edwards, better known as actress Julie Andrews, weaves a sweet tale about Mandy, an orphan who yearns for a place all her own and creates one in an abandoned cottage she finds. As an only child, I identified with Mandy’s desire and cheered her boldness to go for her dreams.

A couple of months ago, I read a delightful children’s book, Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth, about siblings Karl, Addy and Michael befriending a most unusual neighbor. Stillwater, a friendly giant panda who wears boxer shorts, lives a simple life and dispenses Zen-like pearls of wisdom. Not surprisingly, the advice given by him is just what each child needs at the time. I love how the beautiful full-color illustrations of Stillwater and the children contrast with the black-and-white ones of the panda’s tales, the latter reminding of calligraphy a bit in its depiction.

All three of the aforementioned books have been welcome additions to my writer’s reading list.

What about you, dear reader? Do you read children’s books for pleasure? Why or why not?


Robyn Chausse said...

I also enjoy reading children's books; I find they help disconnect from adult stresses, recapture a feeling of innocence and remind me of the important lessons in life.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way I lost my collection of Dr. Seuss which is a shame, his humor can not be duplicated. Other books I enjoy include the works of The Brother's Grimm, the Sara series by Esther and Jerry Hicks (which is along the lines of the Zen teachings you mentioned) and Uncle Remus Stories. Oh, and Charlotte’s Web:)

Jill said...


I definitely share your reasons for reading children's books. My favorite Dr. Seuss books are 'The Sleep Book', and 'Oh, The Places You'll Go'. I also love The Brothers Grimm and Charlotte's Web, although my favorite E.B White book is 'Trumpet of the Swan'.

LuAnn Schindler said...

I enjoy reading them with my grandson, and I have several favorites I never tire hearing, primarily Dr. Seuss books. I also review children's books for a publisher. But do I "break" for children's books? Um, no. I need something more challenging.

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