I made a meaningful discovery doing laundry the other day. While emptying out the contents of a pair of pants, I came upon a handful of unexpected treasure: a piece of sea glass and an acorn. I didn’t need to know whose clothing these came from; judging from these finds, I knew it had to be my 7-year-old. She’s the first one in our family to bring home a red fall leaf, and has been known to stuff her pockets with weeds, wildflowers and pine tree pieces…only for me to find them in paper cups filled with water on her bedroom dresser. Little slices of childhood like these are more precious than gold, but to the parent of a young child, they can be also be a mixed blessing. In the delightful new picture book, Hold This!, this experience is the premise of an all-too-familiar story of a young girl and her father walking through the woods. As the two set out on a seemingly uneventful stroll, Mika soon begins to find treasure after treasure, much to her patient parent’s chagrin. It’s not long before this sweet journey turns sour, as Mika slips, fall and loses some of her findings–not to mention her cool. Any parent worth his salt will understand the mixed emotions that arise out of watching one’s child stumble, while trying to encourage independence. By story’s end, readers will smile knowingly as they ultimately realize that like Mika’s walk, childhood innocence is something worth savoring. It’s something I remember, too, each time I unearth those outdoor treasures before turning on the dryer.
In a Nutshell: A poignant tale that captures the beauty of childhood curiosity, a treasure worth hanging on to.