Ok, ok, I’m on a mission and all that. But have I mentioned how amazingly FUN this is? Writing from the perspective of a little person? Working with an artist who draws from the perspective of a little person? Well, it is. It’s fun. And it makes me so happy to imagine the expression on our pint-sized readers (and yes, of course, it is my own pint-sized reader’s face that I am picturing).
I’ve recently written a little bit about our trip out to the Wallowas in northeastern Oregon, and how awesome it was not only to experience it, but to also see it through my 21 month old’s eyes. When we first arrived, he started rambling on and on saying, “Straw-pick! Gramma Dee!” I realized quickly that he associated this farm with the u-pick berry farm we had taken him to a couple of times this summer – run by a lovely woman who calls herself Grandma Dee. I was impressed that he had made that association.
Once we arrived home, we fell back into our normal routines. Our bedtime ritual always includes two (sometimes three) books before we sing “Edelweiss” and say our goodnights. The last book we read is ALWAYS “Over in the Meadow (ours is the Anna Vojtech illustrated version).” But on the first night after returning from the ranch, “Over in the Meadow” came to life for him.
He paused over the first page, studying the panoramic view of the meadow. I could smell the synapsis in his little brain firing. “Tractor!” he cried, spying the faint outline of a tractor in the background. “Fahm,” he said, knowingly.
Each page, which he already knew by heart, brought new delighted shouts of discovery. I almost cried. These were no longer abstract ideas for him. He understood it in brand new ways.
Everywhere I turn these days the universe is pushing me further into this new direction, and no where is it more evident than in my own home. Books can be part of the connection between the world outside the four walls our kids inhabit and our kids themselves. This sweet little rhyme we’ve been reading since before he could focus his eyes will now serve as a reminder of the ranch. It will help reinforce for him the memory of the pleasure he felt there. Don’t forget, little man! That feeling can be yours again, if you keep the joy of it alive in your heart, and never lose your connection to the world outdoors.
I hope, and I believe our book (and the ones that I hope follow) will illicit a similar response. It’s a simple, relatable rhyme. And the illustrations conjure up heart-warming emotion in a subtle, undemanding way. I shared one with my sister, and she said, “I’m crying. I’m not sure why, but it’s beautiful.”
I think I know why. It’s because they bring to mind the sweet innocence of childhood. They are so good. And I can’t wait to share them all with you. Until then, here is another peek, this time in color:
Just wait until you see the rest.