Monday, April 09, 2007

Children's Book Monday

I Went to Heaven

I went to heaven, -
'Twas a small town,
Lit with a ruby,
Lathed with down.
Stiller than the fields
At the full dew,
Beautiful as pictures
No man drew.
People like the moth,
Of mechlin, frames,
Duties of gossamer,
And eider names.
Almost contented
I could be
'Mong such unique

'Tis but a hint, dear reader, of the book to come...

by Michael Bedard
Pictures by Barbara Cooney

I've written about my love for this author before, so settle a little more deeply into your chair as we begin...

A little girl is curious about the reclusive neighbor on her street, a woman who lives in the yellow house with her sister. The neighbors call her The Myth...

The Myth sends a note to the little girl's mother, telling how she is revived by the piano music she hears from their house, and asks for more. The girl and her mother make a visit, and it is there that they meet the recluse, who is introduced by her sister as Emily.

She is too shy to come down and listen to the girl's mother play the piano, but she turns an ear to them from her quiet chair at the top of the stairs, where the girl finds her when she slips away from her mother.

As the little girl talks with Emily, an exchange of gifts is made. The girl has recognized the loneliness and longing in her new friend, and wants to bless her with some sign of Spring, to which her new friends responds by returning a poem. Which I shall let you be suprised and blessed with, too, dear reader, you and your children.

I was so enchanted by the writing in this book! Listen... the little girl peeks through the window...

"There was no one there but Winter, all in white."

...and as winter fades..

"Across the street, the hedge had lost its veil." they walked to The Myth's home...

"The road was full of mud and mirrors where the sky peeked at itself."

Barbara Cooney's paintings are, as always, exquisite. The wheelbarrow-pushing father and Victorian-fancy mother are symbols of stability and kindness, and the apron-wearing girl with her hair cut in a bob has large, curious eyes.

The afterword of this book describes the author's travels to learn more about Emily Dickinson, for that was The Myth's real name, and reveals her love for children, which brought smiles to my boys' faces! We scoured the internet for her work; and this was a poem they found especially pleasant:

The Pedigree of Honey
The pedigree of honey
Does not concern the bee;
A clover, any time, to him
Is aristocracy.

(Followed, naturally, by a dash for the dictionary to define the word, "aristocracy", then back to the poem for a more comprehensive reading.)

Please, do go find this book! And while you are there, look for Barbara Cooney's Miss Rumphius, Island Boy, Hattie and the Wild Waves, and Eleanor (a story of Eleanor Roosevelt's childhood). You will be enchanted!

Happy Reading!

15 fellow travelers shared:

Jenny said...

Oh I need to get this one for sure! I did a presentation on Emily Dickinson in college. We built a window and then dressed as Emily, I lowered treats and snacks out the window. Emily use to do this for the local children. The treats were in a basket tied to a rope.

I carried on the poetry theme this week as well.


Andrea said...

I'm learning so much from you about children's literature. I tend to just pick out a few books every week at the library with no idea of what author's I prefer, etc. Well, it turns out that last week I brought home "Hattie and the Wild Waves". We haven't read it yet - I'm looking forward to checking it out!

Sheila in Seattle said...

Thanks for this great idea.

Kelly said...

I am a Barbara Cooney fan, too--but haven't seen this one. Yeah! A new book discovery.

Andrea said...

Barbara Cooney books are always so good. These look great!

Beka said...

Looks like a wonderful book, and I love the way you reviewed it so beautifully!
I hope you and your family had a wonderful Easter Sunday!

Jennifer said...

That really does look like a nice book. The cover itself is intriguing and beautiful!

Cindi said...

Well, not a comment about the book, I just wanted to say I love your Easter photo!

Beverly said...

This looks like a captivating book. You gave a taste that made me want to delve in and get more.

I also wanted to say that I love the picture you posted of your lovely family.

Stacy said...

THE PICTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ELISE! What a beautiful picture of your family! I was *so* happy to come over here this morning and see that. You-- aren't you cute?! Your handsome boys in their ties... and your sweet daughter in your arms!
Such fun! Thanks for letting us see you!

ps- I wrote about you in my post today.

Maxine said...

Oh I love the sound of this book. I want to read it myself. I hope Bev gets it so that I can read it. What a nice family yours seems to be. Thanks for posting that picture--it helps us to know you even better.

Ann V.@HolyExperience said...

Elise, all I can say: one of my absolute FAVORITE children's book. We've signed this book out at least a dozen times. I could soak forever in Bedard's words, and Mrs. Cooney's pictures.

All's His Grace,

rcsnickers said...

All of the books on the list look great! I have so many books to request. I love walking in and just picking up our stack of requested books and out the door!

Thanks to everyone to more great reads!

Also, I added a correct link for my blog. I accidentally clicked on it and it did not work. Sorry. That is what I get for doing it really fast this morning in my quick break!


p.s. just noticed your family picture! LOVE IT!!!! What a beautiful family serving the Lord!

Cari said...

This sounds like a beautiful book. I love poetry, so an introduction to Emily Dickinson is appealing. Just reading your review of Emily makes me want to know more!

keri said...

I love book recommendations like this. I am going to get these pronto from my library!

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