Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 104: The Old Woman Who Named Things

Given our love of the Henry and Mudge series, we have taken to reading some of Cynthia Rylant's other fabulous children's books.  She is such a talented author and is a master of telling stories that are loved and appreciated by children and parents on different levels for different reasons.  The Old Woman Who Named Things is a beautiful story about love, friendship, aging, and the fear of loss.  Once there was an old woman who loved to name things.  She had outlived all of her friends and worried about this, for she didn't want to become lonely without any friends she could call by name.  So, she named things around her; but only those things she knew should she could never outlive. "She named the old car she drove "Betsy."  She names the old chair she sat in "Fred."  She names the old bed she slept on "Roxanne."  And she named her old house "Franklin."... The old woman never worried about outliving any of them, and her days were happy."  One day, the old woman finds a shy brown puppy at her gate.  He looks hungry, so the old woman feeds him some ham and sends him on his way.  Every day, the puppy returns to her gate, happily wagging his tail, and every day, the old woman feeds him and tells him to go home.  It is not long, of course, before the woman starts thinking of letting the puppy stay, but he can't.  She doesn't want to risk outliving any more friends.  When the dog fails to show up at her gate one day, the woman sets off to find him, and in the process finds herself facing the classic challenge of risking loss in order to love and be happy.  It should come as no surprise that this is another wonderful story that makes me tear up every time I read it.  My son, being only 3, loves this story at face value.  He thinks it is so silly that the woman names everything from her bed to her car, and he loves the adorable puppy.  On some level, I think children can appreciate this as a book about friendship, but for adults, of course, the meaning and message of the story is far deeper, making this one of those rare books that is perfect for people of all ages.  This would also be a great book for anyone looking to address those tricky topics of aging and dying with children.  Oh, and did I mention that the illustrations are just as wonderful as the story itself?  The Old Woman Who Named Things is a lovely read that reminds us of the universal importance of taking chances on love, loss and friendship in order to find true happiness. 


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