What is your favorite book? For me, that is like asking who is my favorite child. Impossible to answer. Narrowing books to a genre doesn’t help, either. I can think of 5, or 6, or 10, that I love immediately in one certain category. Take, for example, children’s books. There are so many wonderful ones that I think of from my own childhood, that I’ve passed on to my kids and other kids that I love. Of course, there are new ones that have gotten a lot of use, too, but the classics just have that holding power. I read a quote once that goes something like, “A classic book is one that is never finished saying what is has to say.” Love that.
My favorite books when I was very little were Golden Books. Simple stories that got a lot of mileage in our house. As I grew, I loved Charlotte’s Web and The Secret Garden. I’ve always, always gone back to those and can’t wait to read them to my kids. As a a mother, I adore Goodnight Moon (though THIS has given me new perspective), Where the Wild Things Are, because my son so loved it, and really, anything by Maurice Sendak is a winner in my book (pun intended).
The Story of Ferdinand sticks out because, maybe for reasons born out of selfishness, its central theme is about the love, and understanding of a Mother. Reading has always been a constant in my life, but amazingly, as a mother, it has meant something new. The kids will grow. Their minds will fill with adult-isms, and grown-up-ness, and serious business. But the wonder and magic of sleeping with the whole zoo in Goodnight Gorilla, and saying “goodnight” to every little thing in the spirit of Goodnight Moon, and learning the lesson that yes, sitting under a cork tree just to be happy – that will all stay locked in their hearts, and mine, forever. The very simple act of picking a book up just to flip its pages once again is guaranteed to bring you back … and teach you something new – all over again.