The other evening, I was reading a children’s book to M entitled “Migrant” by Maxine Trottier and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. My son was quite absorbed in both the writing and the illustration of this book. The use of metaphor, in this case personification, had him asking such questions as “why does she have to be a tree?”
A good book will inspire a sense of wonder in a child’s mind which is often reflected in the questions posed and the child’s imaginative play. The thing about poetry and metaphor is that it helps us to recognize the subtleties in everyday conversation and in life. It helps us to read between the lines, and these conclusions and insights connect our inner life to our outer life and vice versa.
While M may not fully comprehend the complexities of metaphor, the exposure to it is planting seeds and in the meantime, speaking to his soul .
“What would it be like to be a tree with roots sunk deeply into the earth-to watch the seasons passing around you the same way the wind passes through your branches?
When fall came and your leaves fell, they would blow away, but you would remain. You’d watch the black and orange butterflies set out on wobbly flight, feel the days grow shorter, look up in the sky and see a line of geese winging south again.
And then you would sleep, wrapped in snow, until the sky-high honking of geese woke you in the spring. Now that would be something.” (Migrant, 2011)
I would love to hear what children’s books have spoken to you?