Open House for Butterflies or An Ode to Smiling

A bit of biography for the word count

Ruth Krauss (July 25, 1901 – July 10, 1992), a children’s author, had an extremely prolific forty-year career that not only let her win the hearts of many children but also gift the world with literary gems that inevitably brighten the days of both the little and the grown ones. Krauss, despite having published more than thirty children books, still, for the most part, remains famous for her collaborative works with one of the greatest illustrators, as well as authors, Maurice Sendak. Sendak, who is primarily known for his Where the Wild Things Are (1963), has a masterful brush with which he manages to stir the emotions of colors and lines, and of readers alike.

The two very impactful artists having discovered each other’s worlds realized that they would be great collaborating with each other, and decided to create books together. And so they did. Their eight-year partnership produced such heart-warming, delicate and beautiful gems that one could, without doubt, use as his/her main sources of energy for the day, and read and reread them each day at any hour, being sure of never getting tired of them.

However, despite the many lovely creations of the two authors, their eighth and last collaboration, Open House for Butterflies (1960), was, perhaps, their finest and loveliest one of all. Initially published in 1960, this tiny treasure for big hearts was fortunately reprinted in 2001, and since continues to draw smiles on the faces of children, and of course, on those of grown-ups as well.


And now the real part of the article

Recent circumstances have made me think a lot about smiling and how it really does help change the world around. I know this might sound cliché, and I think clichés are very underrated (just like this statement right here), but the matter of fact is that we very rarely smile or genuinely love those surrounding us. I mean, we very rarely look at a person and not catch ourselves judging him/her, instead of actually loving him/her, not in physical or precisely biological ways (pardon my ways of expressing myself), but in a kind and a human way, the way we love cats, or dogs, or trees, or flowers, for example.

I hope that one day I’ll learn not to judge and, instead, love everyone and everything around me, even those hurting me, or those not liking me, because all of them, in a way, have a reason or a problem. When we answer to unkindness with its very same means we create a swamp of meaningless unhappiness and despair. The many ways to make us smile a little bit often and see the world in a different, a much kinder and purer way, not counting the human interaction (which is perhaps the only real, effective and necessary way of all) are books, films, paintings, music and anything of the kind. Although I understand nothing of the things I mentioned, they still are extremely pleasing to all of my senses and make my mood swing like it’s on a rollercoaster, which is a good thing I assure.

Or you know what, maybe we should just stop being so serious about everything and be less of adults and more of ourselves, more children, whatever that is. We should think less and play more and should invent grimaces and show them to each other. And sometimes we should hate, because you can’t go on smiling all the time, people will think you are stupid. But whatever you decide to do, which is absolutely no business of mine, always remember to drink that one cup of hot milk before going to bed, it will make your belly all tingling and warm, and your dreams sweet.

And now, I shall be done with the talking and share a few more excerpts from the wonderful book of Krauss and Sendak that brought a huge smile on my face and will surely do on yours too.

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And a few more

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And more

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And that’s it. Now you can go and have your soups.

Good day and best regards,

Nina Baklachyan


2 thoughts on “Open House for Butterflies or An Ode to Smiling

  1. “..always remember to drink that one cup of hot milk before going to bed” – that’s what I do, with a teaspoon of honey in it! 😀 Love you Nin, and pardon your ways of expressing yourself 😀 :*


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