How long has it been since you read a children’s book?
If you’re a parent or a child or someone who spends time with children, then probably not that long, but for the rest of us, without a reason to pick up a picture book, it’s probably been a lot longer.
But they’re so good! I have fond memories of the children’s section at our local library, where I’d spend ages looking through the books for just a few titles to take home. George and Martha, the hippos, were the stars of some of my favorite books, and sometimes I still wish I had one of their books lying around so I could dive back in to their world.
Among the perks of returning to live with my parents (no rent, steady flow of food, clean kitchen…) is being close to our extensive collection of children’s books. And as I clean out my childhood bedroom (no easy feat) I’ve been rediscovering a few favorites. Every Sunday night I’ll share one of these books with you, and explain why that particular story has remained one of my favorites as I’ve grown up.
Tonight we’ll start with The Bee Tree. When Mary Ellen complains that she is bored of reading, Grampa takes her on an adventure, and ends up bringing the whole town with him as they chase a bee in hopes of finding the hive and harvesting some honey.
Mmmm, the sweetness of that honey. The illustrations are marvelous, but what stuck out to me the most on this read through was the names of the characters! Seriously.
In order of appearance, we have:
- Mrs. Govlock, with baby Sylvester in the carriage
- Einar Tundevold, on his squeaky old bike
- Olav Lundheigen, on a stroll with…
- Petra and Dorma, the Hermann sisters.
- “Klondike” Bertha Fitchworth
- and last, but most certainly not least, Feduciary Longdrop, and his herd of goats
I think Patricia Polacco is Russian, and perhaps that accounts for such foreign names (or maybe they came from her imagination,) but I’d recommend practicing a few times before attempting to read this one aloud. Stumbling over the silly names really messes up the flow of the adventure, although they definitely contribute to this carefree and whimsical story.