A Toddler’s Secret Wisdom


“One way and another, reading takes up so large a share of my existence that I have to praise it. It is what I know best, and the riches it brings me are always under my eye, undeniable.”

Francis Spufford

It amazes me, when I think about it, that we’re able to take lines and dots and squiggles and put them together to communicate. It’s just as amazing that we can read them and hear a writer’s voice, catch a meaning, and connect with the author’s mind.

Maybe I’m hyper-aware of the process of reading right now because I’ve been taking care of my sixteen-month-old grandson, who can’t yet read. He loves books, though, and often chooses one from the shelf, brings it to me, and then turns around and backs up to me, trusting that I’ll pick him up, plop him on my lap, and read to him. Which, of course, I will. Here are quotes from some favorites:

“Help! Help! Who can help? We can! We can!” One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root

“I curl up in my hollow tree and dream about spring.” I Am a Bunny by Ole Risom


“Duck slid down and started running in circles . . . ‘What should we do now?’ he hollered. ‘We should remain calm!’ Goose yelled back.” Duck and Goose, by Tad Hills


“The dance is done, but we’ll be back.” Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton

Inspiration just for a toddler? Look again:

Remain calm.

Help out.

Dream about spring.

We’ll dance again someday.

Not bad sentiments for grown-ups to take to heart.

Reading really is a magical activity, decoding and finding entry into other worlds, other times, and other thoughts that we might never have considered without the nudge of someone else’s words. When we read, we can time travel – backward, forward, out to distant galaxies and in to our own deep psyches. It’s also a fantastic way to hit the pause button of a busy mind, especially if you have a toddler in your lap.

“…literature makes a very classy drug.”

Francis Spufford

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Text © 2018 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.

Photos courtesy pexels.com.