The Springs of Joy
As we close out April here at The Snuggery and, as it happens, National Poetry Month, I couldn’t let them slip past without highlighting a perfect salute to both, with an absolutely terrific classic picture book for celebrating the passing of spring, and its dual role as the harbinger of the summer to come.
It’s called “The Springs of Joy” by the renowned illustrator and author of iconic picture books, the redoubtable Tasha Tudor.
As I love to troll bookstores and scan picture book shelves, I recently asked a salesperson there, if they had any Tasha Tudor titles. The quizzical look I received, more than convinced me I was going to get a “No” to my question. And it also assured me of one other thing. And that is the importance of bringing these important classic authors of picture books forward to parents and readers of successive generations of readers to whom they may not be known.
Do classic paintings lose their relevance in the world of art because they were painted hundreds of years ago? I believe thousands of students in “The History of Art” classes in colleges are still studying and appreciating them. Why are our art museums filled with visitors that wonder and stare at their preserved beauty long after these painters’ demise?
So it is with these picture book classics. They are art on a very special and unique level, and their level of potential influence to beginning young readers, is immense.
Tasha Tudor, Caldecott Honor Book winner for “1 is One” has written prolifically during her years spent in, and writing of, her beloved New England countryside. And here, she continues that theme in the voice of writers as diverse as Mother Goose, Joseph Conrad, Edgar Allan Poe, John Donne, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Shakespeare.
This may all seem a bit heady as I write of it, but trust me, when you juxtapose the art of Tasha Tudor with truisms from Emerson, such as “Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy,” it presents an opportunity for exposure to a triple play of art, great writers and the teachable moments for discussion with your young reader.
How about this simple quote that resonates all too clearly in a troubled world where children are fearful far too often? “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy,” taken from Robert Louis Stevenson.
And there are pages of these gems filled with simple, yet sumptuous art, that refers by quote and picture, to the world of a child.
As Ms. Tudor states in her Foreword, “Joy and peace are a state of mind, easy for some to come by, difficult for others. This book pictures a few of the things that have brought, and still do bring, intense joy to me.
I’m for that any day of the week!
There is a wealth of wisdom in “The Springs of Joy,” and plenty to share what you rediscover with your young reader, or even gift to a child you may know.
This quote from George Bernard Shaw will probably resonate with the Greatest Generation of current great grandparents that may like reading this to their great grands. These people faced the Great Depression and World War II with the grit established from quotes like these:
“People are always blaming their
circumstances for what they are.
I don’t believe in circumstances.
The people who get on in this world
are the people who get up and look
for the circumstances they want, and
if they can’t find them, make them.”
In a world where renewable resilience in our young is a harder value to find and model, this quote seems very timely and full of hope for challenging times that may perhaps come to them, during their young lives.
Please be a child again with a young reader, and rediscover where joy and hope may often be found – in a classic picture book!
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