Dreaming of Cheese

One of my favorite recipes for homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches includes this quote underneath it:

“Many’s the long night I’ve dreamed of cheese -toasted, mostly”

Ben-Gunn speaking from Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson

I’ve read and loved that quote for years—while using my recipe. I didn’t realize the quote originates from Treasure Island, until we waded through the book, reading it aloud to our kids this winter.

We subscribe to the school of thought that the best education you can give your kids—is to read to them (That’s right, worksheets aren’t where it’s at.). Not fluffy “dessert” books—kids can read those easily on their own for, well, dessert, not the main course.

The books chosen for read-alouds at our house are oftentimes classics, but, really any well-written book with good themes will do. I keep an eye out for books that inspire, motivate, and encourage the reader to be their best self.

Treasure Island didn’t disappoint. My kids ages 14, 10, and 7 followed the tale from beginning to end. Surprisingly, our 14-year old loved it the most.

We waded through the antiquated language and I kept google at the ready, so we could understand scenes loaded with words such as “jib,””boatswain,” and “holus-bolus.”

I’m not going to candy coat it—reading this book aloud felt like trudging. My husband and I took turns reading. But it was worth it. When our kids beg “More!—Just one more chapter!”, I know the book has already bestowed its gift to us.

When my 7 year old son quotes the book crowing “…Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum!”, I don’t worry that the larger themes of fortune and greed, coming of age, strong male role models, consequences etc. are lost on him.

Rather, the book has been opened to him, and deeper understanding will come.

Until then, I’ll be dreaming of cheese…

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