Books

BOOK REVIEW: Dear Diary …

“The Bench” by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, pictures by Christian Robinson
c.2021, Random House
$18.99
40 pages

“The Crown in Crisis: Countdown to the Abdication” by Alexander Larman
c.2020, St. Martin’s Press
$27.99
333 pages

“The Windsor Diaries 1940-45” by Alathea Fitzalan Howard
c.2021, Atria
$30
368 pages

When you sit down for dinner tonight, everyone will be at their favorite seat.

Mama might sit next to you on one side and Daddy on the other side. You might have a booster seat, or a pile of books to sit on at Grandma’s house. Nobody ever sits on someone else’s seat because that’s the way it is but in “The Bench” by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, pictures by Christian Robinson, there’s one place where everyone wants to be.

Somewhere in your yard or on your porch, there is a bench your daddy sat on when you were born. He waited for you there, watching the trees and the cars go by. It’s where he sits now, to spend time with you.

He knows that there’ll come a day when you’ll be a big kid but until then, he goes to that bench to watch you grow, and he makes sure he’s there when you need him. He wipes your tears when you’re sad. He tells you that he loves you.

He keeps you safe there and “you’ll never be ‘lone.”

Here’s a truth: when you’re seeking a book for a very small child, you’re really giving a gift to the parent. The same is true with “The Bench”: kids will love the sweet simple story and the quiet illustrations, but this book is just as much for the adult who’ll read it aloud.

Look closely at the illustrations by Christian Robinson, and you’ll see a few familiar figures. Keep them in mind as you read Meghan, The Duchess of Suxxex’s words, and you’ll see how this children’s story, told from the point of view of a mother fits in with everything you know about Meghan and Harry and all you feel about being a (grand)parent.

Lilibet Diana is going to love this precious, lovely book.

So will you and your child.

*          *          *

While you’re grabbing “The Bench,” why not find something for yourself, too?

History lovers will truly be riveted by “The Crown in Crisis: Countdown to the Abdication” by Alexander Larman. Most folks alive today won’t recall the turmoil that led up to the ultimate job-quitting, when King Edward VIII stepped down from the throne, as he said, “… for the woman I love.”

In this book, you’ll find intrigue and thrills, controversy, and a host of characters who advised the King and those who worked against his plans to marry Wallis Simpson. It’s an amazing look at a bit of the past that changed the course of history.

For something lighter, look for “The Windsor Diaries 1950-45” by Alathea Fitzalan Howard, who was sent to live with her grandfather during World War II, to keep her safe. Like every child around, she loved to go play with the neighbor kids … who just happened to be the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret.

Written in diary form, this book is easy to enjoy, as a delightful look at a British childhood during a tumultuous time. Grab it, and have a seat …

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