When I was a girl, one of my aspirations was to be an author of children's books. I have always been an avid reader, and I remember a period of time in 4th and 5th grades where I would read stacks of age-appropriate books along with stacks of below-my-level children's books. I was drawn to their simple stories, clever use of language, engaging plot lines. It was a wonderful way for an aspiring author to study literature.
Recently, I am again surrounded by stacks of children's books. I find myself in the picture book section of the library, barely able to restrain my grasping hands from choosing "just one more"... oh, Titus would like this one... oh, look at the pictures in this one... oh, the rhymes here are perfect... oh, I remember this one! We are a book-reading family. We read many, many different books. We read the same books many, many times.
Sometimes I read a book and think, "I could write that!" Old aspirations linger, I suppose. And sometimes I read a book, and I'm blown away by it's cleverness, it's beauty, it's ability to engage us, and I realize, "I would never have thought of that!"
There are books that I think are marvelous. There are books that my sons think are marvelous. These often coincide, but not always. Some books get put on the "return pile" more quickly than others.
There are books that I loved the first, second, and third time through. But not so much on the fourth.
Some books I WANT to love... I know in my heart of heart they are good books: sound, educational, worthwhile.
There are books that read so well... the words practically fall off the tongue. The rhythms are impossible to twist up... they always come smoothly. They are a pleasure to read. Dr Seuss, I'm looking at you.
Did you know you could sleep-read? You know those times you've driven your car home only to wonder how you got there because you have no memory of passing that intersection or making that left turn? It's possible to do that with a book: to get to the end with no memory of reading the words. Or to read a book for the umpteenth time and notice a phrase for the first time... have I been reading that all along?
Some books have some subtle adult humor mixed in. Currently, we have a library book called "The Little Red Hen (Makes a Pizza)" by Philemon Sturges. Every time the hen realizes that she is missing an ingredient, she says "Cluck." Now, don't tell me that isn't intentional.
It's fun to read in a new place or have books read by another person. As much as we all love our daily snuggle-on-the-couch-and-read-together time, we also love to mix it up! Reading at a coffee shop or while waiting at the doctor's office... reading at the park... these are special treats! Having someone else read a beloved book lets us enjoy it in a new way; Grandma might read it just a little bit differently than mama does. We love storytime at the library, and when Ms Elizabeth chooses a familiar book, the enjoyment skyrockets!
Some books are gorgeous and some are icky. Some are funny and some are serious. Some are straightforward and some have a subtle agenda. There are I Spy books and lift-the-flap books and truck books and poem books. There are singing books and books without words. There are at least a half dozen books for toddlers about trash trucks (we know them all).
Books, books, books, we love books.