Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ida B
Katherine Hannigan

To the amusingly eccentric, 4th-grade, eponymous heroine, the trees in her family's apple orchard make for interesting conversation partners:

Now, some people might stop me right there and say, "Ida B, you could wait for eternity and a day and you're not going to hear one of those trees talking to you, let alone a brook. Trees don't have mouths, and they don't speak, and you might want to take yourself to the doctor's and get a very thorough check-up real soon."

And after I took a minute to give my patience and forbearance a chance to recover my mouth from the rudeness that was itching to jump out of it, I would just say this: "There's more than one way to tell each other things, and there's more than one way to listen, too. And if you've never heard a tree telling you something, then I'd say you don't really know how to listen just yet. But I'd be happy to give you a few pointers sometime."
Near the end of the book, I repeated to myself resolutely, "Not going to cry. Not going to cry." After one tear slipped out, I thought, "just one tear isn't really crying." Then another . . . Ida B wasn't sappy, just moving in its wonder and honesty; I'll have to keep it in mind to suggest to my daughter when she's older.

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