Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lovely books

We don’t always think about it, but there’s some truly lovely and fabulously imaginative writing in some of the children’s books on the shelves at the library.

Even beginning fiction, which is written for fairly young children.

Consider When the Sky is Like Lace, by Elinor Lander Horwitz. This book was published in 1975, when most of the parents of current young children had barely set foot on the planet yet themselves. But its delightful blend of silliness and dreamy imaginings appeals to this generation as much as the last.

A sample paragraph:

“You will also find that, on bimulous nights when the sky is like lace, the grass is like gooseberry jam. It’s not really squooshy like jam, because then the otters’ feet would slurp around and the snails might drown. It only smells like gooseberry jam. But if you walk barefoot, it feels like the velvet inside a very old violin case.”

Beautiful. You can almost feel the grass.

Another gorgeously written book is Monday by Anne Herbauts. Monday is about the passage of time, days, weeks and seasons. It says far less than it implies. But the implications are enough.

Here’s a page:

“Do you remember Monday?
He waited for Lester Day
and thought about Tom Morrow.
He felt so small, so very small
That he knew almost nothing
about Thursday
or Friday.
On Saturday he smiled dreamily,
Sunday passed in silence.”

Both of these books can be found on the “new” shelves in the Children’s Department. Unless, of course, somebody beat you to them!

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