Sunday, August 28, 2011

Children's Book Monday {guest post by Daddy!}

{Have you ever written in someone else’s diary? Of course not! Diaries are secret places where outsiders ought not to go. That’s what I feel like, writing in my wife’s blog – rough, uncouth masculinity entering a place where only beauty, refinement, and femininity dwell. )

Yet here I am, at my wife’s request, ready to share with you some of my thoughts of a special book, and a stolen moment I shared with my daughter a few nights ago.

It is truly a special evening when I find myself sitting on my daughter’s bed, ready to select and enjoy a book together before her princess-locks hit the pillow and she wakes up even more beautiful the following morning. She fingered through our basket full of library books, continually lifting ones we have already read several times over. But in the shuffling of the book covers, an illustration of a winter-clad father and daughter, reaching out for each other in front of a bright, lonely moon, caught my eye. Owl Moon, written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by John Schoenherr, beckoned to me as an adventure I could take with my daughter without leaving pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals behind.

Let’s read that one, Eliana! I said, yet she shook her head, not knowing the wonder this story would inspire. She most often prefers young girls wearing tiaras, so a little girl wearing a stocking hat and scarf didn’t possess the same level of majesty in her mind. However, as good princesses always do, she relented to the better sensibilities of her father, and we jumped into a snow-blanketed land where everyone sleeps except for a father, his daughter, and many a wild animal.

As the story begins, we could feel the cold, biting breeze, and could hear the low, lonely whistle of a far-away train. Yet, father and daughter shook off their drowsiness and trudged through the snow toward the woods, hoping for a glimpse of an owl. Their journey takes them through barren trees and across landscape where plenty of other footprints remind them that they’re not the only ones out after bedtime. As we read, my daughter nuzzled in close, feeling the cold in the story while still caught up in the adventure.

The father and daughter moved through the forest, calling out, Whoo-whoo-who-who-who whooooooo!, hoping to hear an owl calling back. As they continued on their journey, I could feel my daughter rising in anticipation, knowing that surely an owl would finally answer back. And sure enough, one did. Eliana drew a sharp breath inwardly and grabbed my hand. And as the beautiful illustrations eventually revealed the majestic wing span of an owl, she said, Oohhh… as if she and I were standing in the snow ourselves, beholding this huge, wise bird ourselves.

Fathers and daughters everywhere will enjoy this treasure, and be inspired on adventures of their own. In fact, Eliana and I are making plans to go owling sometime soon, long past our bedtime. I told her with confidence that at least three owls live in the woods behind our little parsonage, for I’ve heard and seen them before. Now all we need to do is take a nap so that we can stay up late and work on our owl-calling…


5 fellow travelers shared:

Stacey said...

Ohhhhhh, we ADORE Owl Moon. You said it more beautifully than I could, but I can say with full confidence that it is an adventure my husband and daughter take often from her princess bed... and have done so once or twice for real!

Great choice, friend!

Anonymous said...

Elise, I have an extra "Owl Moon" hardback I'd love to send you soon one of these nights. Your joy during through the reviews kindles my joy while I read to my little ones (and not so little). Last week's weapons book will be a big hit with 1 or more of my biggest boys!! I had a bit of time and went through a lot of CBM posts and ordered some from my library....a load of treasures! Mary Brooke

Anonymous said...

We adore Owl Moon and wonderful Father-Daughter books.

We include this one in our 'Snow Book Basket' each winter.

Keri said...

I just came across a bookmark to this blog buried deep in my Favorites under Children's Literature. I don't remember being here or bookmarking the site, but I'm glad I did, and I'll try to make time to visit often -- it's a lovely place!

I sent my husband a link to this post. He enjoys reading to our daughters, but I'm not sure he has the deep appreciation for it that would make it even more meaningful both for him and the girls. Hoping this inspires him! :-)

The Homemaker said...

Yes, we enjoy Owl Moon as well. It resides on our bookshelf thanks to my Mother's keen eye when the library was closing!

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