The Book Room
I have always had a love and appreciation for books. As a child, books whisked me away (at least momentarily) from unhappy times and places and opened my eyes to exciting new possibilities and adventures. I read my favorites over and over again until they eventually became a part of me.
The magic of children’s literature is that more than one story resides within the cover. A deeper truth lies just beneath the surface of the simplest story, waiting to be discovered by the mature reader.
From time to time, I’d like to share some of these treasures. If you’ll join me, we’ll step into The Book Room, pull out an old classic, curl up on the couch and revisit long forgotten friends residing there.
Dandelion, by Don Freeman is a book that takes me back to the age of seven, when I first read it. I must have read this story a million times! Dandelion is invited to a party at his friend, Jennifer Giraffe’s house. Although the invitation clearly states “come as you are”, Dandelion goes through great lengths to prepare himself for the party. When he gets there, the hostess does not recognize him, so the door is closed in his face. After a storm helps him look like himself again, he tries again and this time is welcomed in.
When I read this book as a child, I loved the funny changes Dandelion puts himself through, thinking he was pretty hot stuff at the end of it all. I also thought the animal “proprietors” were humorously fitting. (the crane that sold canes; the kangaroo barber that used his pocket for his brushes)
Reading it now, the message rings loud and true–Be yourself; you are your best self when you are your most authentic self. When we attempt to fashion ourselves to look like something we are not, we end up looking foolish. Curiously, as in the story, storms of life tend to strip us and show us who we really are and what we’re made of.
Another thing that is not lost on me now, is the irony. The characters in the story who are being “themselves” include a giraffe wearing pearls, a hippo in a jacket, and a lion in a sweater. Welcome to the world of children’s books!