On our most recent visit, my four-year-old and I spent some happy hours going through boxes of my childhood things in parents’ attic. There’s something about attics, isn’t there, that makes what you find magic?
Here’s one big of magic that we found, my well-loved and duct-taped copy of Tatum’s Favorite Shape by Dorothy Thole, Woodcuts by Whitney Hansen
And here is what the book cover looked like, before it was loved-off:
This book made me so happy when I was a kid. It just felt warm and safe and sweet and right. A little boy comes home from school, vowing to never return because he can’t remember his shapes. His mom finds simple ways to help him realize he does indeed know his shapes. And that’s that. A delicious bite-sized cupcake of a story.
And the woodcut illustrations! I wanted to live there, in that little house with the blooming tree and tire swing and picket fence.
Reading this now as a mom, I think about Tatum’s mom. Is she happy? Is she filled up? There’s an easel in the background of one of the images, and I find myself hoping that she’s an artist, and that she has enough time to create.
I wonder if she’s always home to greet Tatum after school and if she’s glad for it, or if sometimes she would rather be doing something else. I wonder if she’s in graduate school and stays up after the kids go to bed to study. I wonder what she longs for and what she regrets and what makes her laugh and what fills her joy.
I wonder if she’s always the kind , patient, playful mother she is in the book, or if she ever has days when she is not.
None of this matters, though, when I’m reading. What matters is that she and Tatum and Sissy had a lovely afternoon, and us readers are lucky enough to be there to share it.
I am still searching for bio information for the author, Dorothy Thole, and will update when I do.
I did find a site for Whitney Hansen, though! And I’m so excited to start poking to see where I can see her work.
What books did you love as a kid? What did they make you feel then? What do they make you feel now?