Tag Archive | Roger Hargreaves

Seek and you shall find

It was a raw and rainy day hereabouts, the sort of day that begs for big mugs of hot cocoa and lots and lots of stories.

Once the ladies had colored all the pictures they could stand, and everyone had a decent nap, we opted for an afternoon story marathon, which began before the boys were done snoozing.  I’ve mentioned before that reading is a favorite pastime at our house, and we have a formidable library of children’s books.  I’ve also noted that we read a wide variety of materials, and that we’ve been able to find Christ in whatever we read.  For today’s post, I’ll share the books we read and how we saw the Lord in each one.  For those who just want to know what books we read, I’ll begin with a gallery view.

For the books that are specifically about faith, I’ll assume you can figure out how Jesus was included, but if there’s one about which you would like specific information, please ask in the comments or in an email, and I’ll be happy to answer you.

We are huge Tomie de Paola fans around here.  Fin M’Coul is a retelling of an ancient Irish legend, and in it, the wife of the giant loves him enough to use all her wit and talent to save her husband from a horrible beating at the hands of a bully giant.  It’s sort of like Samson and Delilah, except in this case, Delilah saves Samson.  We found Jesus’s teaching to the Pharisees from Matthew 19 here, about how the Lord created male and female, and the two become one flesh forever.

This one is easy.  It begins with Psalm 139:14 — “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  Yes.  Every new life is.

I’ve loved this book since I was tiny.  By reading it, we are reminded that while we may receive a mild rebuke for straying, the good shepherd always welcomes the lost member of his flock.

These are pretty self-explanatory!

My Big Book of Opposites reminds us that the Lord made all creatures, great and small.  It’s Time to Play gives a little lesson on stewardship, that we are to clean up the messes we make, and that even putting our toys away can be a happy task.

Brave Butterfly reminds us that we can do things we think are impossible if we have faith.  Peekaboo Fun reminds us that the Lord made every living and non-living thing, and He made them in an infinite number of shapes, sizes, and colors.

It’s Great to be an Engine reminds us that we are to make a joyful noise unto the Lord!

Jesus wanted the little children to come to Him, so we have special books to help bring them closer!

Can you tell these two have been well-loved?  The Belly Button Book reminds us that we all are born of women, as Jesus was, and Doggies reminds us that the Lord created some animals to be our friends, playmates, and protectors.

Pooh’s 1-2-3 reminds us that whenever two or more are gathered in His name, there He is, and that each of us has something we can share.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat calls to mind Noah and his ark, and, of course, Christ calling the fishermen.

Psalm 139 again!

While this book is more about snow and baking cookies, it’s also a good reminder that we share the fruits of our labors with our neighbors — and, of course, we give gifts to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

The wonders of Creation can be explored and investigated, but not always fully explained.  We thank the Lord for the mysteries he’s given us.

In the Fairy Berry Bake-Off, we learn that arrogance leads to unloving behavior, wastefulness, and destruction, but that we always have the opportunity to reconcile and be forgiven.  In Beck’s Bunny Secret, we learn that telling a lie leads to unhappiness and mistrust among friends, but, again, there is the opportunity for repentance and redemption.

The Strawberry Shortcake stories remind us of the value of friendship as defined in Sirach 6.

In the “Little Miss” books, we are reminded that He has given each of us particular talents, but that it sometimes takes us a while to figure out how to put those talents to their best use.

The Wind in the Willows reminds us that friends who lead us down the paths of wisdom are priceless, and that love sometimes means saying “no.”

In Bossy Bee, we remember that Jesus, the great leader and teacher, wasn’t rude or bossy, but gentle and humble.

The Foot Bookcalls to mind Christ washing the feet of His disciples.

We love Arch books.

If you have never read this book, go directly to your library or bookstore and get it.  Each of us has a gift to offer, and if we offer it freely and with love, even the most seemingly strange offering is pleasing to Him.  I have had this particular copy since I was five years old.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, we can see Your face anywhere we seek You.  Thank You for your constant presence, and help me teach Your blessings to recognize You and Your wisdom in books that don’t mention Your name.  Please grant us the wisdom to see Your triumph and grace in all things, that we may use every word we read, song we sing, and show we watch to draw nearer to you.

Little Miss Sunshine

Bugaboo and Beanie are both big fans of Roger Hargreaves’ “Little Miss” series, and since the books are quite inexpensive, I periodically order a few to add to their library; usually, I tuck them into the top shelf of the bookcase in their room and await the squeals of delight when they’re discovered.  Today, while Mr. Man and Baby Guy were napping, I invited the girls to bring me some stories and we could have a special “big girls only” storytime.

As it happened, this was the magical day when they realized Little Miss Princess, Little Miss Giggles, and Little Miss Sunshine were the newest members of their formidable book collection.  Two delightedly chortling little girls came pelting over to the couch, their treasures in hand, and tried to simultaneously leap into my lap.  Since they are both over three feet tall now, this resulted in a fairly spectacular mid-air collision and subsequent thudding to the floor of a tangle of flailing arms and legs.

Once we sorted out all the body parts and ascertained that the worst injuries were to their dignities, the three of us snuggled up on one couch cushion to enjoy a little lighthearted reading.  We saved Little Miss Sunshine for last; Beanie has been asking for that one for some time, as that is one of my nicknames for her.  It also happened to be the one out of three stories I had never read.

I will not ruin the story for those of you who have not read it, but there’s a salient line that the King of Miseryland utters near the end of the book, to wit:  “But I don’t know how to be happy!  I’ve never tried it!”

Well, now.  I went through a period of my life where I wasn’t trying to be happy.  I was trying to find reasons to take offense, reasons to be angry, reasons to resent and to hate and to blame.  For that matter, I still have days when I do that.  Being happy really is a choice, and I put the book’s lesson to good use later in the day when Bugaboo was rebelling against her math assignment.  She exclaimed, in a wretched tone, “I’m very unhappy!”  I gently replied, with the ghost of a smile in my voice, “I’m sorry you’re so unhappy.  Have you tried being happy?  You have a nice sturdy kitchen table, good schoolbooks, a freshly sharpened pencil, and Mommy right here to help you if you have a question.  Plus, the backyard is waiting for you as soon as you’re done.”

That earned me a sour little scowl, but she did the assignment, and was giggling at it (she had to draw 20 arrows on a target) by the time she was halfway through.  After she had finished, she cheerfully claimed a hug and kiss from me before cavorting off to join Beanie in ravaging the clover population in the back yard before supper.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You’ve been making it pretty obvious lately that You choose what messengers You will.  For many years, I disregarded those You sent to remind me that I can choose joy at any moment, and reject it at any moment.  Help me teach Your blessings that we can bear even irksome tasks with a happy heart, or choose to listen to Your adversary’s exhortations to resentment and anger.  Thank You for Your reminders, for Your blessings, for my soul that chooses to sing so loudly my mouth must repeat the song.