old mother west wind

One of my favorite things about being a parent is sharing with my children things that I enjoyed as a child, and a recent example of this is the books of Thornton W. Burgess. Burgess was a naturalist around the turn of the century who wrote a series of children’s books about the animals of the forest and their adventures. They’re simple books, but they’re filled with just the right amount of adventure and fun to be engrossing to a young mind.

Our normal bedtime routine is for him to pick a couple of books to read before going to sleep, and for the past several months, night after night, he’s picked the stories about the Bear twins Boxer and Woof-Wooof, Peter Rabbit, Grandfather Frog, Jimmy Skunk, and Reddy Fox. We have a set that my mother gave us, and he knows them all by heart, so much so that he asks for them according to specific stories: “I want to hear the one where the Bears climb a tree, daddy.”

At first I was surprised that he would sit so rapturously for them, but as always, he surprised me with the power of his imagination, and now when I read them to him I can see the pictures on the insides of his eyeballs. When Peter Rabbit falls down the slide that Little Joe Otter built and plops into the Smiling Pool, he laughs and laughs every time at the scene.

It makes bedtime my favorite part of the day. I can’t think of anything more comfortable and loving than reading to Enzo to help him have dreams of sunshine through trees and the sound of water.

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