Children's books have more power in 32 pages than children even realize. It isn't until we are older than we find ourselves saying, "Mom, remember that book with the one page that had a dog in the bed, but he wasn't asleep...and then a tree at the end? What was it called again?It was my favorite book." Our memory of reading picture books can be as vivid as our real childhood memories, because imagination and reality are one and the same to kids. The pages of picture books allow a child's' mind and senses to make sense of the world around them and give them freedom to explore new places and feelings in a very safe way. It's a beautiful art, and one that I hope to master some day. There is so much more that goes into a book than a simple "tree at the end" ending. But to affect the child in a positive way is the ultimate quest.
Marilka is one of those books to me. To be completely honest, my memories of reading this as a child have completely messed up my critical eye. This could be a lousy book (which it isn't) but because I loved it so much as a child, I love it now. Do you have those kind of books? Books that as you read now aren't that amazing, but to your 5 year old self they captivated you?
From the front flap:
"When Marilka's parents think she is lost, not only are they miserable, but everyone and everything in the neighborhood is afflicted too. When Marilka reappears, joy is unbounded, and she knows that she is the center of her parents' world. In gorgeous full-color pictures and playfully exaggerated text, Janina Domanska transforms a universal childhood experience into a work of art."
Marilka (I believe) is out of print (Macmillan 1970) and can only be found here or in your libraries.