How, in the name of all things lovely, did I raise three children to their present ages and never, not once, until about a week ago, read or acquire the book Roxaboxen?
Compounding this mystery is the fact that I adore Barbara Cooney and have awarded TWO of her books (Miss Rumphius and Ox-Cart Man) coveted places on my Top Ten List of Books Every Child Should Know. She, along with a few others such as Allen Say, Patricia Polacco, William Steig, Robert McCloskey, and Cynthia Rylant, occupy some exceedingly rarefied air in my book.
Oops. "In my book." I didn't just say that.
Anyway, Roxaboxen celebrates everything that's unique about childhood but that most of us feel may be vanishing. It's a testament to the power of imagination, shared in community, to create an enduring, layered, populated world out of what looks like nothing. If you're hip to my list of toys no child should be about, believe me when I say that you'll appreciate this book.
At her request, I read this several times to Caroline. Then it went onto the shelf for a few days. Do you think I suggested some parent-directed enrichment activities to make her experience of this book more educational?
But at the park this morning, she and her sister found an unoccupied thicket of woods. And within minutes, it had become Roxaboxen. An hour later, they had a city hall, a bank, houses with hat- and coat-racks, etc.
Run, don't walk, to your local library or bookstore or Amazon [yup, Affiliate links above] and chase down a copy to share with your 4-8 year old. Then maybe you'll forgive me for being so bossy.