Our regular bedtime routine (after teeth-brushing and such) is to have devotions with the kids, pray for the missionaries of that day, and then read a book before lights out. We usually read a shorter book (a children’s book), not a chapter book at this point—mainly because Mommy has a hard time keeping her eyes open for an entire chapter at that time of the night. But I also just love the wonderful illustrations, sweet humor, and clever creativity that children’s books afford. We want to acquaint you with two of our current favorites. One has been familiar to us for at least ten years; the other one was introduced to us just a few days ago (even though it is a classic, by literary standards).
Christina Katerina & the Box, by Patricia Lee Gauch, is one of our all-time favorites. (It was copyrighted in 1971, and was illustrated by Doris Burn.) Christina Katerina is a young girl whose imagination transforms a refrigerator box into a castle, a club house, a race car, and more. However, Christina’s imagination is a little at odds with her mom’s longing for a neat front yard. The young lady’s creativity overcomes all obstacles—until the box disintegrates into such an unusable state that Christina has to concede that the box must go. Unbeknownst to the mom, and fortunately for Christina, a neighbor down the street got a new washer and dryer set. You guessed it: two boxes for even more creativity!
The second book to which we were just introduced is Claire Hutchet Bishop’s The Man Who Lost His Head (originally copyrighted in 1942). Bishop was the author of the familiar tales Five Chinese Brothers and Twenty and Ten. The Man Who Lost His Head is about a man who discovers that his head is missing. He attempts to use several substitute heads, but none is as satisfactory as his own, for obvious reasons. It is a children’s book full of rich vocabulary, incredible puns, and delightful illustrations. (In the 1969 copyright of the book, the illustrations are by one of our all-time favorite illustrators/authors: Robert McCloskey of Lentil, Make Way for Ducklings, and Homer Price fame.) Honestly, the last pun in the book is, by far, the best pun I have ever encountered in writing of any genre. Recapitulate has never meant so much….The Man Who Lost His Head would be our “must-read” of the summer.
We’ll probably have another article later in the summer with a few more of our favorite bedtime tales. In the meantime, what are some of yours? Share your family’s best bedtime story recommendations.