Picture books sit like memories in my mind. They preserve the time my children once sat beside me, perfectly under one arm and ready to turn the pages.
Picture books kept in piles on a table after our weekend visits to the library. Beautiful piles of picture books briefly tested, scooped up, and taken home like borrowed treasures. One by one, maybe three in one day, we sat and we read together. Time easily kept still for the sound of a story.
Picture books shared like treasures on quiet afternoons. When my children were small enough to sit quietly beside me, time stood quiet and still and long enough for the words on the pages to come alive. The noises of our busy world seemed to wait, as the picture book invited tiny fingers to lead the way with the turn of each page.
Picture books preserving perfectly the time tiny humans roamed our home.
“And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof, the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.”
“Oh, little bear, I’m not easy to fool. You don’t really feel sick! Cheer up! You’ll love school!”
“I will make him a salamander bed to sleep in. I will cover him with leaves that are fresh and green, and bring moss that looks like little stars to be a pillow for his head. I will bring crickets to sing him to sleep and bull frogs to tell him good-night stories.”
“Time passed. The sun and moon took turns in the sky. Verdi marveled as the full moon grew thinner every night. Then he watched patiently as it slowly grew round again. He wondered why he hadn’t noticed that before.”
“With a Puff, Puff, Puff and a Chug, Chug, Chug, They went over the river to the West.”
My children are grown. They are good human beings, maybe because of the books they once held in their hands. And now when they share something that they’ve read, I can fit quite easily under one of their arms.