Who doesn’t LOVE The Fledgling, by Jane Langton? It was one of my favorites as a kid, and I love it even more as an adult. Wanna talk about grrrrreat writing. Reading it aloud to the kids over these last days has taken my breath away on more than one occasion.
A tangle of bushes grew around the place where the old summerhouse had stood. The summerhouse was gone, but there was still an empty place in the middle of the bushes. Long wiry stems of forsythia arched over it like a lattice roof.
It was Georgie’s bush house. After school Georgie crawled into it, carrying her doll under one arm. She sat down cross-legged in a nest of leaves with the doll in her lap. Dappled sunlight fell on her face in flecks and splothes. It poured in round nickels and dimes on the sleeves of her jacket. That jacket was Eddy’s. That is, it had once been Eddy’s. With lordly generousity Eddy had handed it down to Georgie. The denim of the jacket was heavy like armor. Sitting in Eddy’s jacket now, swallowed up in it, Georgie felt stiffened with some of Eddy’s bold courage.
The story is a wonderful combination of love, irony, melancholy, humor (lots of humor) and great characterizations. H7 went out yesterday and made her own bush house, complete with acorn cups and leafy plates. Isn’t it great when a good story moves into a new story of our own? Precious.
If you know the story of The Fledgling, you’ll know why I lingered for a few extra moments at the top of the stairs this morning, watching the sunlight stream across the wooden floors, considering the bend in the landing, and peaking out the window to see if the Goose Prince was there. What a great way to start the day – thoughts of trying, and flying, and trusting all wrapped up inside my heart.