In Which I Contradict Myself

I'll start out with the problem: it bugs me when people talk about kids' books in reverent tones, as though all the wisdom there were of a better, higher quality than that found in adult books. It seems to me somewhat condescending somehow, to give me that same icky feeling I get when someone squeals over a little girl's dress, "Oh, I wish they had that in my size!"

That said, I have to admit that there are many, many times when I do wish a small pink sundress were available in my size. And also? When the feelings in children's books strike an emotional chord so deep and true it resonates for—well, forever.

Lately, when I've been sitting around and thinking, the most beautiful phrase from the most beautiful book, Days With Frog and Toad, has been coming to mind.

"I'm sorry for all the dumb things I do. I'm sorry for all the silly things I say. Please be my friend again!"

It's such a cri de coeur. (Is that spelled right? not likely).

It's not that the same thing doesn't happen with adult books. Of course it does. It just doesn't occur to me in quite the same way, in quite the same raw, open, naked vulnerability. And so I keep it close to me. Along with, "And that night, in Max's room, a forest grew, and grew, and grew, until his ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world all around."

It's like a very small library. Of strange, painful, resonant feelings and quotations.

We are all so strange, aren't we?

3 thoughts on “In Which I Contradict Myself

  1. I think it has to do with the re-reading and reading out loud that we do of children’s books. Often I will see a line that I like in an adult book, but then I pass by it and it is gone from my mind the next day. But how many times have you read Days with Frog and Toad? Hundreds, probably, and out loud too, which makes it stick in your head even more. Same with Shakespeare. My son recently played Queen Gertrude in Hamlet and I have been mulling over “One woe doth tread upon another’s heel, so fast they follow” and really liking it. Not because I usually tend towards Shakespeare, but hearing him say it out loud over and over, it made me think about it in a different way.

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