Some things that make me happy every day of the week are the books that I read to Violet. She inherited my childhood bookcase — made by my father — from me and its five shelves divide their attention equally between books and stuffed animals. Several months ago Violet started using her stool in an attempt to reach the higher shelves (don’t worry, the bookcase is anchored to the wall). She has her favorites, but she also insists on exploring every reading option available to her. “Let no book go unread” could be her motto.
Just wait until she discovers that I have bins upon bins of books in storage.
Many of her favorite books are the ones I had as a child. The very same ones, with my mother’s handwriting inside the cover stating my name and sometimes the date. “STAND BACK,” SAID THE ELEPHANT, “I’M GOING TO SNEEZE!” and Raggedy Ann and Andy in The Tunnel of Lost Toys both have dates of February 26, 1982 written in them. I think that is amazing and wonderful that I am reading to Violet books that have been in my possession for nearly 30 years. 30 years!
They’re timeless, too. She gasps when Harry gets filthy dirty playing at the railroad; she shouts “YUCK!” at the thought of pickle candies or pickle shakes; she rejoices at the prospect of a circus life (instead of one in the zoo). Reading these books also gives me a chance to revisit my childhood often (I’m a very sentimental sort). Are You My Mother? was my absolute favorite book for my grandmother to read to me as a child and, incidentally, this new copy is inscribed to Violet from her great-grandmother — one and the same. Raggedy Ann and Strawberry Shortcake are just as new and exciting to Violet as they were to me so many years ago. I actually found Strawberry Shortcake’s Cooking Fun at a yard sale several years ago — I had it as a kid and was so tickled to find it again after so many years.
Every day I am thrilled that Violet is continuing to develop a love of books. And it is so nice to share it with some old friends.