If you know anything about me, you know I adore children's books. One of my favorite sources for information on books and authors is the very fun blog Vintage Kids Books My Kid Loves. I've found so many new to me favorite authors and books there. She had a give away and huzzah! I won the book that I liked the best from the ones she had. It must be kismet.
Wolf Story by William McCleary is one the New York Review Books Children's Collection. They've taken classic and out of print books and reprinted them in beautiful editions. This was printed first before I was born (Yes, that long ago) and I wasn't familiar with it. It arrived yesterday amid the horror that's become our national morning and it was the best antidote. This is a tale of a father who tells his son and the son's best friend stories. Not any story but a "good long story" with a wolf named Waldo, a hen with colorful feathers, and a fictional little boy who saves his hen. The story of the wolf winds in between the story of ordinary days and nights when a father takes his son on outings, has him wash his face, brush his teeth and puts him to bed.
It's a perfect world when the wolf's teeth, "as long and as sharp as butcher knives", can be banished because Daddy changed the story. Too soon we learn of real wolves with real life teeth. This book reminded me why I, at an early age, fell in love with story books. Today, I'm also full of love and gratitude for my school teachers. They patiently taught me to read and opened up the world so I could walk forward when ready. Pouring knowledge into our empty heads and dealing with the ordinary bits of childishness that we all are in our early education. I recall few names or faces of these sainted ladies (for me they were all ladies) but I remember, from kindergarten through 6th grade, in 3 different states; always after lunch they read to us. I remember many of these books. They became part of me. The best stories don't just entertain or educate but light a little flame at the bottom of our hearts that keeps us company and gives us hope in the darkest of times.