Once upon a time, so long ago that it seems a story now, I was a Montessori teacher. Montessori drew me to her because through her I could use what I knew and because she had something to offer me. It was to celebrate the essence of childhood, to live it again, to learn, to love, to see, to feel as a child does. Once upon a time, I was a child, and I became one again. Just as Jesus and Lao Tzu wanted us all to do, so it was for me a sacred celebration of rebirth.
Some of these stories came as an outgrowth to a workshop I attended on Muriel Dwyer's Total Reading approach to language education. Dwyer took the strong foundation of Montessori reading lessons to the next level, filling them with a richness of intelligence and artistry that only increased my love of teaching and the children's response to it.
Una's Unicorn and Gerry's Giraffe began with the idea of using matching letters for the titles of a series. That was just a springboard,though, and it would be impossible for me to write another Dick and Jane reader. Literature must have a vision and a purpose, even if it is devised as little reading lessons. I love animals as I do children, the two loves fused in my ideals of stewardship of the world and the connections of all living things. Perhaps I tried to jam too much thought into too small a body; if so, I erred on the side of respect for the intelligence of the child. Children can survive on junk art just as they can on junk food, but will flourish only on a healthier diet of both.