Whimsy and wonderland are two words that capture perfectly the essence of the books that captivated me as I was growing up, and many of the books that helped me to fall in love with reading and shaped my lifelong love of books. From the crazy happenings in Wonderland itself in Alice’s Adventures, to the wonderful imaginary landscapes of Narnia, the magic of Neverland in Peter Pan and the whimsical happenings in the Mary Poppins stories, all of these books captivate and enlarge the imagination whether you’re a child or an adult. And I think that the lasting power of these books comes down to just that- they don’t loose their wonder even when you are grown up. Even if you didn’t read them as a child (Little Women, To Kill a Mockingbird and Tom’s Midnight Garden were books I only read as adults- and still loved.)
The magical, whimsical qualities of books whether set in the real world- like The Secret Garden, Mary Poppins or Little Women- or not unsurprisingly capture the mind of a child. That books and stories have the power to feed the imagination, to take you to places you can only dream of and to share adventures with characters who become your friends, that is the quality that makes you fall in love with them, for reading to take a grip and for stories to fill your mind with wonder. As I’ve shared some of these stories with Phoebe- especially fairytales, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan- I’ve seen the same thing starting to happen in her. I found this beautiful copy of Peter Pan in our local bookshop last Christmas, and she loves to read through and pore over the illustrations. The illustrations captured her attention even before she could read many of the words, and the first reader books that I’ve had the best chance of sharing with her are ones like the Princess and the Pea or Cinderella.
I hope that each of our children will be able to see the magic of stories and the imagination, even before they can read independently or make their way into reading longer books of their own choice. Filling our life and home with stories is so fun. The box of books we share at bedtime, the conversations sparked by the quotes or wall hangings on the walls, sharing our favourite tales in film nights- it’s so fun to share and watch their imaginations grow when it comes out in their imaginary play. Whether they like the same kind of books as me when they are deciding their own taste in reading, I hope that the wonder of tales of adventure, magic and everyday stories will have hold of them and that they too will see the beauty of the stories that lie all around us- both in books and the stories that are woven through our own everyday lives.
And speaking of having reminders of stories at our fingertips- The whimsy and wonderland collection is growing a little- adding with a new quote print, from our favourite Little Women, and most excitingly the addition of notebooks! Each of these is handmade by moi, and are perfect little gifts or stocking stuffers – to remind you of your favourite or to encourage a little mind. Alice in Wonderland is going in Phoebe’s stocking!