by Elizabeth Orton Jones, first published 1942
“Why not use what you already have: your own i-ma-gi-na-tion? It can do any kind of magic – anywhere-at any time. All you have to do is use it.”
Just when I am about to add a children’s book to this website that is “just okay,” I read a book in the same genre that is outstanding. And then I remember why I’ve committed to only adding great children’s literature here. Twig is in this category- a great children’s book that every child should encounter early in life.
I’ve passed this children’s book by for a while now, not drawn to it for some reason. Then today, after reading a mediocre book, I took this one from the library and couldn’t put it down. From the very opening, where the author kindly addresses the reader, or the one being read to, or the adult who is reading aloud, I knew I was in the hands of a master writer. The opening sets the tone for the entire book. There is gentle humor, kindliness, and most important, the superb emphasis on imagination.
What makes a children’s book great? I realized after I completed it that as soon as I had finished it, I was still filled with images of everything that happened, from the little fairy house made of a tin can, to the Fairy Queen herself. Whereas in the mediocre children’s book, I remembered the plot, but there were no pictures in my mind. What a different experience.
Again and again, I realize that there are so many books out there, and so little time to read them. If we want our children and young people to love reading, it is essential that we give them manna, and not junk food. Twig is manna for the imagination.