The other day my 5-year old brought home his book wish list from school. They're having a book fair (probably a Scholastic thing) with an assortment of fiction and non-fiction, picture books and chapter books. I've seen the sort of thing in the past and it makes my mouth water. Lots and lots of wonderful books all tantalizingly displayed.
So to preface this little story let me say that ever since he was about six months old we've been reading to him. It started with Goodnight Moon, and The Runaway Bunny and Dr. Seuss and has progressed from there. Incidentally, I read Goodnight Moon so many times every night that I could recite it in my sleep, and now five years later when this skill would come in really handy with the LF (Lucy Factor) since I am still sleep-deprived I can't remember any of it by heart.
So usually he gets 2 or 3 picture books and then a chapter or two of a more mature book every night. He's had some Roald Dahl, all of the Moomintrolls, even a little Harry Potter, and he's just waiting for the day when he'll be old enough (8-12) to read my book.
His bookshelf in his bedroom is crammed full of books because I just cannot resist. Even if we're budgeting (which of course we are, all the time) I can always rationalize a book purchase for myself, for him, for the LF because they're good for the brain and there's such a wealth of good literature for kids out there, from birth to age 18. Now I can even rationalize it more by saying that each book will be read to the LF too so I'm getting double my money's worth. And she poor child will have nothing but hand-me-downs.
Anyway, he is a kid reared and weaned and fed on wonderful books- Beatrix Potter and Eric Carle, and the Miss Spider's, and Spot and all the rest. A thorough grounding in all the best the English language has to offer our children.
When he brought home his list, I glanced at it and the prices. Nothing seemed exorbitant and although I didn't recognize any of the scrawled titles, they were books so I added it up, wrote a check and sent it back in.
The next day, he came home with a bag full and he was chattering away excitedly. I just love seeing him get off the bus with his big backpack threatening to tip him over 'cause he's just so nonchalant about the whole thing and he's only 5, for pete sakes!
Anyway we unpacked the book bag.
He had chosen a book about exotic pets including tarantulas and giant hissing cockroaches from Madagascar.
Two sports books- one about baseball players and the other about overpaid whiny basketball stars, which is totally due to his best friend's influence since I only follow boxing and soccer, and his father is only interested in motorcycle racing and we don't own a tv.
A chapter book of the kind derived from an action toy.
And a Captain Underpants book.
Now I will read all of these to him because they are books of the written word; even the sports ones which have lots of glossy pictures and lots of exceedingly dull prose. And I have read Capt. U to him in the past because he fell in love with the toilet humor about the same time he started using the toilet.
But these would not be my choices.
"Why did you pick these, sweetie," I asked.
"Because Cameron and Patrick chose these ones too. We all picked the same."
I swear I almost said, "But if your friends were going to jump off a cliff..."
But I stopped myself.
I said nothing else about it because his little face was just lit up as he looked through the stack, and he announced that he didn't want to watch a video because he wanted to look at his books, and then, my little guy sat at the dining room table while I chopped carrots and he read Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad, Bionic Booger Boy to me.