musings about food, travel, creativity and life

Short and Sweet

Children’s picture books can be delightful uppers that make us smile and touch our hearts. As I was weeding my small collection this week, I put the following aside as “keepers”:

Paddington by Michael Bond, illustrated by R.W. Alley: This story of a jaunty stowaway bear is just plain fun. And how lucky that we have many Paddington books and two movies to continue enjoying the adventures.

The Prince of the Dolomites by Tomie De Paola: This fairy tale and love story makes me think of my dad who was born in the Dolomites, and the illustrations transport me to those stunning mountains.

Borta Bra Men Hemma Bäst: I still revel in the stunning watercolors of this book I bought in Sweden decades ago. And I relate to the premise of the story’s title: “Away is good, but home is best.” Ah, yes…where have I heard that theme before?

What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom: This is a lovely story of a young boy who is followed by an idea, then befriends it and is changed by it. Finally he realizes that an idea can change the world.

There is a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems: Two saucy characters, one an elephant and the other a little pig, deal with the dilemma of a bird, and more, on one of the character’s heads. Clever ending.

Olivia, written and illustrated by Ian Falconer: Olivia is one high- spirited, independent, creative piglet character whose antics keep her mother busy. The simple black, white and red illustrations of Olivia make me smile. 

La La La, written by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Jaime Kim: This is a simple, nearly wordless, story of a lonely little girl who has a need for connection. Ultimately, her expression of that need brings a response and a sense of hope–to both her and the reader.

And finally,  The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams: What a beautiful story of love and of being “real.” How often have I read and been moved by the Skin Horse’s answer to Rabbit’s question of “What is REAL?” A part of that answer says, “…When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real… and once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.” Oh, my.

Children’s books can deliver beautiful messages with few words and vibrant images. Such sweet go-to’s when a child or an adult needs a little upper. And who doesn’t need a little upper now and then.



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