I am not one to grow weepy at the thought of my children getting older, but there is something about the thought of this child turning four that gives me pause.
She has always been so little, you know—fiesty and loud and sweet and little—and yet, tomorrow she turns four, an age that isn’t exactly big but that does turn some sort of corner, taking her out of toddlerdom and into a new season of life, where the questions are frequent and the play enthralling.
The Maggie B. suits this season in Sarah’s life and so it makes sense that she enjoys it: the story is an adventure story but a comforting one, where the objects of everyday life—soup, storms and younger siblings—are a part of the quiet action. When Margaret Barnstable, heroine of The Maggie B., wishes on a star, she wishes for a ship “named after me, to sail for a day alone and free, with someone nice for company.” She gets her wish, and she and her brother sail the seas together in a comfy ship (complete with farm and fruit trees) for a single day. It is a wish I could see Sarah making.
In fact, it is a wish I might have made as a child—or might still make, if given the opportunity. Something about this book enchanted me the very first time I read it, and it has remained a favorite in our family ever since, but I am glad to see Sarah adopting it as a personal favorite now and bringing it to me while I clear the table after dinner with that sleepy question: “Will you read this to me?” The thought that she’ll be reading to herself soon, that I won’t hear that question from her for much longer—that might make me a little weepy. But until then, I’ll enjoy those moments on the couch with Sarah’s hair tickling my chin, reading The Maggie B.
The Maggie B.
Irene Haas (1975)