I picked up this book at a local thrift store for 10 cents about five years ago.
|by Liesel Moak Skorpen illustrated by Doris Burn|
I think this book speaks to the child and the mother in me. I love how the story follows a poetic format. The perfectly real illustrations depict childhood play that is every imaginative child's dream, and the vibes coming off the parents makes me laugh, because I totally have been there. Look how frustrated they are with the mess, the drawings on the wall, and the utter chaos.
Did you ever want to run away as a child? Did your parents ever make you sooo mad that you were headed out the back window before you lost your nerve?
The one time I remember wanting to run away, I never got as far as thinking of where I'd go.
My imagination couldn't run anywhere, my anger had first dibs.
If I did stop and take the time to think of the perfect non-parent place, I don't know what I would have come up with, but these adventurous children found some wonderfully magical places to run away to.
These children moved first to a tree.
"There was always a breeze in the afternoon
that rippled through our roof.
Above in a branch lived a speckled bird
who sang all day for the sake of a song,
and our roof in the autumn turned scarlet and gold.
We liked our tree,
until we tumbled out."
That didn't deter these children. They packed their bags once again with,
"sweaters and socks and scarves and mittens
and scarlet leaves and gold."
They moved to a pond,
and packed up again to move to a cave.
Once they met the bears, they packed their bags yet again, and moved to the sea.
Isn't this drawing fantastic?! My kids and I talk about how tangible it seems. We can feel the wind, and taste the salt, even though the sea isn't even in the picture.
"We built a castle on the shore
from salty water and warm sea sand
with turrets and towers and moats about.
We hunted for treasure and dove in the waves
and slept to the pleasant songs of the surf.
We liked our castle on the shore,
but the tides kept washing us out to sea.
So we packed our bags with sweaters
and scarlet leaves and gold
and a frog who was a particular friend
and precious stones that caught and held the sun
and seashells singing like the surf."
I love how their bag now contains all the treasures from their travels. Never mind where the socks and mittens have been left. Never mind that they left home in the first place. Mom and Dad have missed the little hooligans, and welcome them home with open arms.
Because really, the endless mess and the art on the walls are nothing compared to the joy that children bring.
Now that our book is on its last leg, I can't bring myself to tape it up, or even get rid of it. The illustrations are fabulous, and make me think of carefree summer days. I have an idea to frame some of them, like the scene of the kids in the tree and the sea scene.
Or perhaps I will make photocopies of the best pages first, and give them to my kids as coloring pages.
What do you do with a favorite worn out book that you can't bear to close the pages of?