The Wild Rumpus

Parenting and family, served with a shot of vodka

My Son Fell in Love With a 40-Year-Old Book

Reading is always part of our bedtime routine with our munchkins. Each night, my son and daughter choose one book each. Then they argue over whose book is to be read first. And then finally, we read.

My daughter is two, so she tends to run the same book into the ground for weeks at a time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read Peppa Pig and the Busy Day at School. My son, 5, mixes it up a bit more. And when he trotted in last night with Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, my heart skipped a beat.

where the sidewalk ends

It’s one of my favorite books from childhood. I loved it so much, I’ve kept it more than three decades. It’s moved with me to college in Oregon, back to Washington, then to Illinois, Kentucky and Massachusetts. It has my name and phone number carefully written inside the front cover in my second grade handwriting.

My son and I have tried reading from it before, but he wasn’t quite old enough to appreciate it yet. But Monday night, he was ready.

He laughed and laughed at “Sick,” the poem about Peggy Ann McKay, who had a laundry list of excuses not to go to school — until she found out it was Saturday. He adored “Hungry Mungry,” about a guy who scarfed down food, his parents, his house, the U.S., the world, the universe and finally, himself.

Of course, “My Beard,” is always a hit with little kids. Because, nudity!

My Beard Shel Silverstein

This book of poems came out in 1974. Our elementary school librarian, Mrs. Bemis, used to read to us from it all the time. She was so expressive, and made the words come to life. I still have vivid memories of this, even though it was decades ago. “Sick” was my favorite, but I remember them all.

To share the delight of Silverstein’s funny, silly, tender and witty prose with my Superhero was the highlight of my week. I tried to read with the joy and delight of Mrs. Bemis, and I think I succeeded because my feelings were so genuine.

A truly great moment in parenting.

What childhood books were your favorites?

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This entry was posted on November 25, 2014 by in Kids, Parenting and tagged , , , , , , .

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