I spend my mornings chasing a rambunctious toddler around the house. Each day is a joy as we eat breakfast, run errands, play, have fun and then eat lunch. By the time I put her down for a nap at 1 PM I am also ready for a nap. But her nap time is my time to do work at my “other” job. I often spend her nap time preparing sermons and Bible studies as well as necessary administrative work related to ministry.
Usually I take a few minutes before diving into all of that to see what’s going on in the world – check Facebook, a news site or two, check my reader to see if any interesting blog posts have come through. Sometimes I discover that, at least in the little corner of the Internet that is the Christian blogosphere, the sky is falling! Some well-known Christian pastor writes a blog post or article or has a new book coming out. It is on a controversial subject. Or it is on a non-controversial subject but manages to create controversy anyway. I see four or five blog posts in my feed commenting on this article. On Twitter people are sparring back and forth on it.
My daughter is napping…maybe i should rethink my decision not to take a nap too.
Recently a thought crossed my mind – if we all read more children’s books, the world would be such a better place. Just moments before logging onto the net and discovering the controversy of the day, I am reading book after book to my daughter. Like me she loves to read, so she will request 10-12 books prior to her nap.
I love it.
There are the classics, by the likes of Dr. Seuss. Green Eggs and Ham is my favorite, not only is it funny but it offers a good lesson – try new things! Then there are newer authors that were not around when I was a kid. Two of the best are Sandra Boynton and Mo Willems.
Sandra Boynton books are made for the littlest of readers and are hilarious in featuring the antics of our animal friends. Snuggle Puppy warms my heart. Tickle Time leads to a tickle war. And I am pretty sure the reason my daughter’s favorite animal is the hippo is because of Boynton books. There is The Belly Button Book where we learn that hippos love their belly-b’s. In But Not the Hippopotamus we see the poor hippo being left out of everything. Finally, in Hippos Go Berserk we see a grand hippo party as the hippos go crazy!
While she still loves the board books, my daughter’s new favorite (or is it my favorite…) is Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggy series. Gerald, the elephant, and Piggy, the pig are best friends. They share many adventures – the time a bird builds a nest on Gerald’s head, the conundrum Gerald faces as he decides whether or not to share his ice cream, and the fun they have as they prepare for a car ride only to realize they have no cars (because a pig with a car, that would be silly!).
I think I might enjoy reading these children’s books way too much! This morning I even encouraged her to take a few to the park in her backpack, so we could read on a bench if she needed a break from the swings and see-saws. But I think children’s books are good for the soul. Their frequent silliness would make even the hardest heart laugh. I think we all need more silliness in our lives. We need a world where hippos parade around with their belly buttons out, elephants and pigs are friends, cats wander into your house and cause a ruckus…and where a little Siamese cat named Skippy John Jones thinks he is a Chihuahua.
Maybe if we all read these silly books more we’d have more fun and the world would be a better place.
What is your favorite children’s book?