Monday, May 09, 2011

Children's Book Monday {Comfort Edition}

You know the ones. The old stand-by's, the comfortable favorites we pull from the shelves in dark hours, illnesses, homesickness.

My husband and I spoke at the Pepperdine Lectures last week, so sweet, capable Ann Tabby (Aunt Abbie) flew down to stay with our children while we were in Malibu. I knew what each child would struggle with after a few days of missing us, but Eliana? Well, being a girl myself, I also knew a hard day might come when words would be few but tears would freely flow. To my great delight, just before we left I came across a new-to-me book at the library that didn't already have a place on our comfort shelf, and from what I hear, it was a perfect fit for that sad, inevitable day!

The Secret Remedy Book: A Story of Comfort and Love

by Karin Cates
illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin

First of all, Wendy Anderson Halperin? One of our all-time favorites! I've reviewed Homeplace on CBM, and come to think of it, Love Is... and Soft House would fit beautifully on the comfort shelf as well! Her pencil drawings are so softly colored that we fairly whisper as we read, and I particularly love the clothing on her characters- so fun! But the best part of Ms. Halperin's illustrations are the panels running along the top, sides and bottom of each page, telling stories within the story. I love to read the page aloud and then sit back as my children proceed to tell me about all the other things happening on the page. They love it, too! To read a book written or illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin is to be comforted in the nicest way. {Click here to see a full collection of Ms. Halperin's work.}

On to the story...

Lolly's family visits Auntie Zep every holiday, but Lolly is sure she can visit all by herself. So, one summer, her parents decide she is old enough to stay with Auntie Zep- alone- for the whole month! Unfortunately, Lolly feels homesick almost right away. When she begins to cry, Auntie Zep knows just what she needs- The Secret Remedy Book.

In a trunk in an attic full of treasures(and with a lovely panel running across the top of the page depicting the journey of the trunk), they find the book. The remedies are written on brittle pages in spidery handwriting, and the first page has a warning: You must finish all the remedies in this book before the first hoot of an owl- or none of them will work! (No danger of that here- owl's don't seem to hoot in the city!)

As Lolly and her auntie work their way through the remedies all day, they find themselves distracted with thoughts of others, with nature and weather and earth and animals.

The Third Remedy...
Take a walk as far as you can.
You must see something you have never noticed before

The Fifth Remedy...
Write a cheerful letter to some dear soul.
You must put something unexpected in the envelope.

By the time the owl hoots and Lolly finishes the fifth remedy..

Dream of doing great things. You must think of one, small great thing you can do tomorrow...

...Lolly's thoughts are focused on all of the animals and plants and dear souls she has touched today, and her dreams are full of poetry and saving wild things and all the beauty of the world.

The remedies are all things one can find around their house and complete in one day, and that makes this book even more of a treasure- and we really love how Ms. Cates' story brings the homesick or ill or frightened reader a vision that expands to include the world around her.

Our copy must return to the library soon, but it's on our wishlist and will soon be added to our comfort shelf! We hope you enjoy it, too.

Other comfort favorites in the Hooper household:
Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco
The Pooh Get-Well Book by Virginia Ellison, illustrations by E.H. Shepard
Eloise Wilkin Stories
The Cozy Book by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Betty Fraser

And I have to add these because for years they have truly been "comfort books" for my boys- they stay in the bottom drawer of a desk in my room, and only come out for *sick* days, but goodness, are they loved!
The Adventures of Tintin by Herge

Happy Reading!

{Would you consider sharing in the comments about some comfort favorites that have ministered to your family?}

6 fellow travelers shared:

Kristin said...

We most remember Wendy Anderson Halperin's illustrations from the Cobblestreet Cousins books. Love them!

My comfort book link:

Kathi @ A Heart Like Water said...

I've never considered setting aside books for comfort. Maybe I will start though.

*Listening to* our audiobook copy of a few Little Golden's (Poky Puppy, Scruffy, Scrawny) soothes my little boys. Sleepy Bears works for all of them (and me). And Are You My Mother? is the best snuggle/stop the tears book.

We are big lovers of Thunder Cake and Homeplace too!

Hope you're feeling well, Elise!

**would love to hear (read) your 'talk' from the Pepperdine Lectures**

Stacy said...

...thinking of you tonight, friend.


Anonymous said...

So enjoy your blog! Hope you'll write again soon!


Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

I just miss you.

Charissa said...

Hope all is well!

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