I have heard the following story since I was a young mother myself:
Hanna, a mother of grown sons, often lamented to her friends that each of her boys, in turn, went to sea as soon as they were old enough.
One day, a group of her friends gathered in her living room to work on a quilt. As the women chatted about their grown sons, who were merchants, farmers, teachers or builders, and their growing flock of grandchildren, Hannah became quieter and quieter. She had no daughters-in-law to visit or shop with, and no grandchildren underfoot.
One of the women noticed that Hannah seemed excluded from the conversation, and, knowing of Hannah's sorrow and worry over her seafaring boys, tried to change the subject. "Hannah," she said brightly, "I love that wonderful painting over your mantel. Have you had it very long?"
Hannah's long-time best friend spoke up before Hannah could reply. "Oh heavens," she said. "That has always been there. It was a wedding gift."
Suddenly Hannah and her friend exchanged a startled glance. The painting was a dramatic seascape featuring a beautiful ship in full sail on high seas. The women made the connection between the painting and the absent boys at the same instant, as best friends often do.
I don't know if the story is true, but I do believe that a quiet half hour spent coloring with a little girl might be a valuable opportunity to chat about the pictures and perhaps share values that just might stick. The blank backs of the pictures could serve as a spot for the child to write something about the picture, or to draw a picture of her own.