Jan 11, 2013

Friday Five: Children's Lit that Works as Wedding Readings

As you may know, I'm a legal assistant by day, super librarian [assistant] by night afternoon.  I obviously prefer one over the other, but the legal gig has its moments.

Recently, one of the attorneys gave me a fun assignment.  She was doing a reading at a wedding and thought an excerpt from a children's book would be a cute option, as she finds traditional ones boring (AMEN!).  Because of my innate lack of caring for traditional weddings (and weddings in general? maybe), this was the best assignment ever.  Here's what I brought back to her:

1) Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams
"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always." 

2) Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne
“Pooh” whispered Piglet.
“Yes, Piglet” replied Pooh.
“Nothing,” answered Piglet,
“I just wanted to be sure of you.”
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.”
“It’s so much more friendly with two.”
“Pooh, promise me you won’t forget about me, ever. Not even when I am a hundred.”
Pooh thought for a little.
“How old shall I be then?”
Pooh nodded. “I promise,” he said.
“Some people care too much, I think it’s called love.”

3) The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
"You're lovely, but you're empty," he went on. "One couldn't die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important that all of you together, since she is the one I've watered. Since she's the one I put under glass. Since she's the one I sheltered behind a screen. Since she's the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except two or three for butterflies). Since she's the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she's MY rose."
And he went back to the fox.
"Good-bye," he said.
"Good-bye," said the fox. "Here is my secret. It's quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes."
"Anything essential is invisible to the eyes," the little prince repeated, in order to remember.
"It's the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important."
"It's the time I spent on my rose…," the little prince repeated, in order to remember.
"People have forgotten this truth," the fox said. "But you mustn't forget it. You become responsible forever for what you have tamed. You're responsible for your rose…"
"I'm responsible for my rose…," the little prince repeated in order to remember.

4) Martha and George, by James Marshall
One day after George had eaten ten bowls of Martha's soup, he said to himself, "I just can't stand another bowl. Not even another spoonful." So, while Martha was out in the kitchen, George carefully poured the rest of his soup into his loafers under the table. "Now she will think I have eaten it." But Martha was watching from the kitchen. "How do you expect to walk home with your loafers full of split pea soup?" she asked George. "Oh dear," said George. "You saw me."

5) I Like You, by Sandol Stoddard Warburg (The whole book is perfect, this is just a small excerpt)
I like you because because because
I forget why I like you but I do
So many reasons
On the 4th of July I like you because it's the 4th of July
On the fifth of July, I like you to
Even if it was the 999th of July
Even if it was August
Even if it was way down at the bottom of November
Even if it was no place particular in January
I would go on choosing you
And you would go on choosing me
Over and over again
That's how it would happen every time
I don't know why
I guess I don't know why I really like you
I guess I just like you because I like you. 
The New York Public Library had a great blog post on this topic in 2011.  

1 comment:

  1. Yes! I've always thouight that Velveteen Rabbit was one of the best love stories around. And I LIke You is a book I gave to my husband for valentine's day last year, and one of my coworkers read from it to her spouse on HER wedding day. Good choices.