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Not all of them are the same. And as much as I try to hide it, I play favorites.
When my little one brings over a book to read at bedtime, I admit it, sometimes it’s hard to suppress the cringe.
Not all bedtime books are created equal.
Surely you feel the same way…right? I mean, we all love you, Amelia Bedelia, but if I have to read about you more than twice in a week, it kinda makes me crazy.
There are a few books, though, that I don’t mind reading over and over again. And my children can tell.
The Napping House by Audrey Wood is my favorite children’s book. It is a joy to read. The book’s artwork is rich and playfully detailed. The text is lyrical and descriptive.
It begins by welcoming us to the Napping House where we’re told that everyone is sleeping. We’re introduced to a granny, a boy and a collection of household pets and creatures who are all blissfully dozing the day away. But one resident is not asleep. A wakeful flea serves as the catalyst to wake up all the House’s occupants one by one. And eventually (spoiler alert), the bed’s “spell” is broken and everyone emerges from their slumber to joyfully meet the day.
It is strange, I guess, to enjoy reading a book about such “awakenings” at bedtime. Maybe that’s why the other night, my oldest daughter asked me why I like this book so much.
Smiling, I closed it and told them that I hadn’t really considered it before. “The book is well-written and beautiful,” I said, “but I guess the reason why I like it so much is because it seems like a story our King would like. Jesus’ stories often focused on the power of small things to make a difference.” Looking then at each of my girls, I added, “I love it that this flea, the smallest, most insignificant thing on the page, not much more than a dot, is the one whose action is what starts setting everyone free.” Then after passing out a round of kisses, I turned off the light.
Leaving their room, I thought again about how that tiny flea serves as the impetus for the liberation of all the characters in the story. I want my children to have a Kingdom imagination. I want them to be on the lookout to participate in and celebrate when even the smallest things help set others free. So bedtime seems just about the right time to plant those seeds in their little minds. Lord, let them be filled with dreams of joining you in your work of waking up the world and helping all of us become truly alive.
Anyways, now you know…I’ve shared my bias with you, too.
All bedtime books were not created equally. And The Napping House is my favorite. What’s yours?