When I was 9 years old, my brother’s girlfriend who was 16, gave me a book for Christmas entitled the “Cuckoo Clock”. It was written by Mary Louise Molesworth (29 May 1839 – 20 January 1921) who was an English writer of children’s stories. It is noted that this book was a childhood favorite of Agatha Christie.
It was the first hardcover book I ever received for myself and I read it over and over and over. It was about a young girl named Griselda whose mother has died and she comes to live with her two elderly aunts. Living in their old house, and when sleeping, believes she can hear the sound of the old cuckoo clock from downstairs and thinks it may be alive. The Cuckoo Clock is an important classic children’s tale of adventure and fantasy and has been a popular book among young children who are interested in books of magic and adventure. Despite the time it was written (1877), the story doesn’t seem out-dated or old fashioned. The themes of loneliness, friendship, and growing up are timeless.
According to the comments on Amazon about the book, others have sought out the book decades after they have read it – which I did also. My love for reading this book at an early age not only brought me back to how life was at a much earlier time, but how Griselda used her imagination to have a relationship with the cuckoo. He appeared at certain times of the day and from that relationship she evolved to enter into human relationships with children her own age.
Isn’t that what reading does? We learn knowledge, wisdom, information, advice, and even moral lessons. We ‘live’ in the pages experiencing a ‘visit’ to the ‘world’ of the book – even better than movies or TV shows. It creates an atmosphere of sharing the book’s messages to someone else who has read it. We visualize the characters in their setting and look forward to the next chapter and what happens next.
Today, many children do not read as much as they once did as they are distracted by cell phones, smart phones, social media and video games. This can reduce or replace human conversations, and imaginative thinking. It is sad that some people brag their children or grandchildren receive cell phones or smart phones at age 2 and can play games on them. Maybe we should shelve these contraptions – along with the TV and instead read to our kids & grandkids. Planned trips to the library may stimulate their appetite to read. Maybe they will even read the Bible. Collect their favorite books into their own small library.
I used to read stories to my kids every night at bedtime. They listened intently. One night we were going out to a social event and I hurriedly read his favorite night-time book to my 3-year old son. To hasten the time, I skipped over paragraphs as I read faster than usual. After the third ‘missed’ paragraph, my son’s face turned red and he blurted out, “Read it Right!!” He listened. And I went back and did read it right.
Encourage your little ones to read – and read to them. Have a reading ‘time’ and be an example of reading alongside them. too. You will encourage bonds with them and maybe even have a conversation about them. Reading is a not a chore or only done for homework – it is a source of enjoyment and growing. It will help with their schoolwork and broaden their lives.
Even when they grown up and are on their own or married, there are great books you can share with them and/or their own children. More bonds to share.
Marie Coppola January 2019