So I’ve tried to dispel a myth here before: if one is a children’s librarian, it does not necessarily mean that one’s child will be an avid reader. We have struggled with Kiddo since Day One with the reading. It’s not that she’s dyslexic or anything like that; she’s just…apathetic. We have to cajole and convince her to pick up a book.
For awhile, she was all about Mercy Watson and read those books over and over again. Then I received a lovely package of books from Françoise Mouly: Jack and the Box, Stinky, and Mo and Jo: Fighting Together Forever. For a brief and blessed time, we didn’t have to push Kiddo to read – she gladly picked these up for her twenty minutes of nightly reading (as prescribed by her teacher).
But then she tired of all of those, which is natural after having read each about 30 times. This is when I went to the Central Children’s Room of the library, looking for anything she might read. And here’s what happened: I was no longer a librarian. I was a frustrated parent, and I couldn’t think of a single book my kid would read. Luckily, the librarian saw my face – you fellow librarians know the face – and asked if she could help. When I told her my dilemma and whined about how Toon Books couldn’t produce books fast enough, this is what she said:
“Well, have you tried Babymouse?”
The parent in me saw the skies open up and the heard the heavens sing. The librarian in me flicked myself in the forehead for not thinking of it sooner. OF COURSE! And the irony of it is that I actually have a copy of Babymouse: Queen of the World on my personal bookshelves…but it’s a pristine hardcover edition that Jenny and Matt signed at BookFest, and I have it on a high shelf with my other signed books, not exactly accessible to children. I know, I know. Judge me all you’d like.
So imagine my delight when I showed Kiddo the five Babymouse books I checked out for her, and she yelled: “COMICS!!!!” And promptly started reading Queen of the World. Not only did she read for the prescribed 20 minutes...but then she read for 10 minutes more without a single word from us.
The next day I went back to the Central Children’s Room with the sole purpose of giving the librarian a hug. I was going to give her flowers, but I thought that might be over the top.
Since then, Kiddo has read and re-read most of the Babymouse books…but I’ve nailed her pattern, and I sense the interest waning. I’ve brought home Kaput and Zösky, but the sense of humor didn’t quite click with her, not to mention that the font is teeny tiny. Bad Kitty wasn’t comic-y enough. Amelia Rules and Sardine in Outer Space also didn’t pass the test.
I’m thinking of running Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes by her next. In the meantime, she has re-discovered Talented Clementine and thinks that gluing beer bottle caps to the soles of your shoes is about the funniest thing ever.
Anyone have any additional book suggestions?