One of the things that Australian author Mem Fox is very good at is helping children to understand complex things, even when they’re very young. For instance understanding about growing older can be very confusing for young children. They simply have a very hard time wrapping their minds around the fact that things change, and yet don’t, as you grow older. There is, however, one tale that Fox has written which helps children to understand what it’s like to grow older.
The story is about a woman named Lily Laceby. She is very old and is in her armchair dozing peacefully. As she dozes she thinks about her life and her memories. As she is sleeping, her dog hears all sorts of different sounds coming from just outside of the door, including the crunch of feet on the garden path, the click of doors outside, and even the mutter of voices. Finally, when someone starts pounding on the door, the dog starts barking to alert Lily that something is up.
When she goes to open the door, she finds that her family and friends are there to spend her birthday with her! During the party her great-great granddaughter asks her if she is really turning 90. Lilly bends down and tells her that she is only four and a half, just like her granddaughter is.
The tale of Night Noises is one that is a great way to help children to understand what it is like to grow older. It helps them to see that even though you are growing older, you will still like some of the same things that you like when you are young, as evidenced through Lilly’s dreams as she is napping. It also helps children to see that even those who are older can be just like children and that they aren’t so different from each other.
A tale for the entire family. This is one children’s book, which thanks to the help of the illustrations by Terry Denton, teaches a lesson while, at the same time, warming the heart of children and parents.