Ode to a strange book:
Except that I'm not much an ode writer, nor much of a poet (not really any of a poet, what with my lack of compression and general heart-tearing conflicts about language, which is perhaps a story for another day). So what did I really want to say? I wanted to say that there is yet another book that we have loved over time, and I don't know why except to say: Who is fool enough to try to explain the logic of love?
At any rate: this.
I mean, perhaps it can be explained by the fact that they were very little, and still acquiring language.
But that can't possibly fully explain its allure. What the heck is it about this book that made it so compelling? We would look at it for hours. Hours! Pages would come and go into vogue: Animals. Things in the kitchen. Food. Was it the fleeting and wistful belief that the world could be organized into a neat and comprehensible form? Was it the recognizability of it all? "Hey, that's a carrot! I've seen that before!"
There were long, pleasant afternoons contemplating the children on the "Moving" page: the girl jumping. Hopping. Above. Below.
There was the existential moment when we wondered, Where are these kids now, and looked to the pub date and realized they could be walking among us right now, but we would never know, because they were adults.
We started with this book when Diana was…two? Read it steadily for years, it died, got another one, it died, got one in French (!), it died. We loved this book.
It says something strange and mournful and beautiful about people that every child I have ever known has responded so powerfully (and inexplicably) to this book.
If you have someone small in your house, you should try this with them: it is a strange and particular pleasure.