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?