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A few months back, Maria sent me a book for my daughter. It wasn't my daughter's birthday or anything. Maria simply wrote something along the lines of: "Esther can't get enough of this book right now. I thought Edith might like it too!"
The book was Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson. I read it right away. (I mean, it was good enough for Maria to send with no occasion!) I loved it. Simple, not garishly colored, and beautiful in the awe it inspires. (Sarah, who also received the book for her daughter, said the ending gives her goosebumps.) Its fun twist is that it invites the child to perform actions in order for a change to take place on the following page. (For example, "Clap your hands to bring...." on one page, to "the snow!" on the following one.)
Edith, however, who was just around a year and a half at the time, didn't take to it as quickly as I did. I thought: "Oh well. Just another thing I like but she doesn't. Funny how that happens...."
But just a month or two later, it has become one of her favorite books. She "gets" it now, and I love watching her anticipate each action and expect each change. It is the first book she has memorized. It snaps her out of a funk if I suggest we read it. She requests it over and over and doesn't tire of it. (This made it invaluable on the plane to and from Sister Weekend 2017!) She doesn't even let me close it at the end -- she's already flipping back the pages.
So, thanks, Maria! I think I'll go and gift this soon myself.