by Kate Seredy, first published 1935
“I have everything here. I am happy. Look, the sky gives me sunshine and rain. The ground gives me food. The spring gives me water. The sheep gives me shelter and clothes…”
Here’s a really unusual children’s book, written about experiences in rural Budapest, quite a while ago. The setting is so far removed from our fast-paced contemporary life that the book almost becomes a meditation for the mind. The picture of country life, and the value of rural living, discipline, and love, create a vivid and wonderful blue print for healing the ails of our current age.
Aside from that philosophical point, the other lovely aspect of this children’s book is that it is woven throughout with classic Hungarian folk tales, making stories within a story as you read the book.
The characters, a boy and a girl, are filled with life and a bit of mischief, so it’s easy for children reading this book to get swept along by the drama in each chapter. And yet, I use the word ‘drama’ lightly, as this book is so wholesome there is not a single word that would upset a sensitive child.
In many ways, this is a classic Waldorf education book, given its setting, philosophy, and tone. I could see it being used for 3rd grade reading about other cultures, whether in a classroom or home school setting.