A father takes his child “owling” on a wintry night, well past bedtime, for a special, peaceful adventure that bonds them together… There’s a reason this lyrical, visually lush story with its watercolor illustrations has been a beloved, instant classic (and Caldecott Medal-winning book) since 1988. The father/child connection central to the tale will warm both parents’ and kids’ hearts, and the beautiful nature message will make everyone want to venture out to explore the wonderful world around us.
Perhaps the only psychology book kids of all ages will ever need, this perennial favorite uses both silly and serious rhyme cleverly to examine without fear the ups and downs we all shall have to experience at one time or another in life’s bumpy roadways and divergent pathways. The brilliance of the writing and colorful, whimsical illustrations are both cheerful and honest about some of the natural, normal pitfalls that readers young and old will have to face as they go out into the world (“I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.”) Seuss warns us life is not always easy (“When you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.”) Always positive in tone, the impactful, thoughtful prose comforts us with the self-empowering message that, ultimately, we are in charge of our own lives (“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”). Kids of all ages will “move mountains” when they enjoy this wonderful story.
One of my absolute favorite picture books when I was a child, the one that I wanted read at numerous bedtimes until my parents were hoarse, is this entertaining tale of Ping, a spirited little duck who lives on a boat on the Yangtze River. It’s a tale of “natural consequences” that follows Ping when, to avoid a punishment he knows must come after disobeying a safety rule, he winds up lost and alone and must struggle to return to the safety of his family. The higher lessons taught in the story are draped with delicious adventure and possible peril, coupled with Kurt Wieses timeless, poignant illustrations.
I received this book as a Christmas present when I was a little girl. Inscribed by my parents, it remains one of my most prized possessions to this day. A collection of homespun, common sense maxims coupled with delicate, adorable illustrations, this book contains a world of wisdom for us all by which to live. From the simple admonition that “A stitch in time saves nine” to the eloquent observation that it’s sometimes better to listen than to talk (“There was an old owl who lived in an oak. The more he heard the less he spoke. The less he spoke the more he heard. Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?”) this collection of wise words helps us all reflect well on life’s little truths.
I always get “goosebumples” and feel happy tears in my eyes whenever I re-read this enduring, classic parable about selflessness and the patience of love. A little boy rather selfishly demands and enjoys all the fruits of a tree that patiently loves him. The trees gives the child everything for which he asks – without the child giving anything back to his stalwart friend – until the boy is grown and mature enough to realize that the value of the old tree’s love has nothing to do with the material comforts that this very giving tree has always freely granted him. Read it with someone you love, over and over again.