Age: 6+ Independent
This is a first grade book and very sweet. Not very long at 80 pages with almost a 1-1 ratio of words to pictures. The language is very sweet and straightforward so it’s a pretty easy read for children by themselves. The story starts off with a little girl wanting her mom to read to her. She is in first grade and can very well read on her own but she loves the way her mother makes stories come to life. They read together and their daily ritual is to read together and have snacks after school, etc. This is until she had a little brother. Her mom ended up not having enough time to spend with her reading and she ended up looking for others to read to her and everyone was also too busy (from her older brother to the neighbor’s daughter, to the grandma who fell asleep). This is when she took a walk in the woods and started reading loudly to the woods only to find little animal creatures were listening! They made friends with her and made it a ritual for her to read to them. One day she made up her own story to include all the animals in the forest and it turned out the story she made, taught them how to protect the forest by themselves from a construction plan that would have plowed the forest flat for some new buildings. In the end, the forest was saved, and she was able to read to her forest creature friends again.
This is a story about the internal growth of a child where she was forced to mature and become independent through family and outside factors. There are parts in there that made you ache in the heart (when her mom didn’t have time for her or was too busy attending to the new baby). It also reminded me of the times when my kids came to me and I said I am too busy. Maybe they were really looking forward to story time but yet as life has it, I don’t always have the time. It definitely portrayed that we are viewed as their whole world sometimes when they’re young. Then, they are forced to grow up and find out they can contribute to society in multiple ways themselves.
When read with the eyes of a child, it’s a fun animals book and a girl gaining courage book. When read from the view of a parent, I keep getting an ache in my heart that my children are growing up way too soon.
You can buy the book here: 念故事給我們聽好嗎？