The Simple Nature of Children's Books

Take a moment to think about your favorite children's book. Most likely it is a sweet, simple story.  A few of my favorites:

'Where the Wild Things Are' takes its readers on a journey into the rich imagination of a young child. We are whisked away to an island full of monsters and wild dancing. By the end of the book the main character misses his mama and sails his boat "in and out of weeks and through a day" back to his home, where his supper is waiting for him in his spartan room of only a bed, and nightstand.

'Goodnight Moon' shows us how to see the world, at bedtime, through a child's eyes. "Goodnight clocks, and goodnight socks. Goodnight stars, goodnight air. Goodnight noises everywhere."

'The Giving Tree' by Shel Silverstein tells everyone how a tree loves a boy from childhood through to the end of the boys (and the trees) life.

By their simple nature, these popular stories gently remind us of the beauty of the slow life. Andthe fact that we read them over and over again, and love them, its as if we inherently know that that's exactly what children need: a slow and simple life that is rich with opportunities to discover, full of loving people, and minimal in belongings and clutter.

After all, would we still revere 'Goodnight Moon' if it went on for 60 pages, saying goodnight to 150 different blinking, beeping toys? (150 is the average number of toys the typical American child owns). Would 'Where the Wild Things Are' captivate our souls if, instead of using his imagination, the main character spent the evening playing in his room with a big plastic contraption made of 15 buttons, all providing various forms of noise and entertainment as he pressed each one? Would the Giving Tree melt our hearts if the tree were not a tree, but a television set trying its best to meet a child's needs?

Let us all slow our lives and simplify our possessions. We, the adults will benefit greatly. Our children will benefit tenfold.