The ending gets me every time: the tear slides down my cheek as I sniffle and look away, so happy that Corduroy has a home. Don Freeman’s book Corduroy has been a long time favorite of mine, and now that my friends are having kids of their own, I make sure to add the title to their tiny-tot libraries. Recently I gave it as a gift to my “honorary” niece and nephew for their first birthday, and I sought to articulate why the book was so important to me. What is it about the little bear who goes in search of his missing button in the big, scary department store in order to have a young girl take him home?
Since the birthday party was an hour away, I had a lot of time to think about this. A friend and I had a conversation a long time ago about how different forces in our lives taught us to think that we were not good enough, that we lacked something. Even though we’re successful, normal people, whatever it is we feel we’re lacking lurks in the back of our minds, and every now and then we pick fights with the men who love us to force them to acknowledge and reaffirm that we are not good enough. Yet, her husband stands by her, and my husband stands by me.
What does this have to do with a stuffed bear in overalls, you ask? Corduroy is a metaphor for all of us who feel like we are “missing a button”. The power of the book comes not just from being a sweet story, but as a reminder to us that those who love us, love us for who we are, missing button and all. They accept what we lack, but more importantly they accept us for what we have (and I’m sure many husbands are thinking “Hey! The less buttons the better!”).
I look forward to the day when the twins are old enough that I can explain what Corduroy means to me as I read it to them then sniffle and look away.
Readers, what is your favorite children’s book? Why do you love it?