I'm very happy to say that both my girls have inherited my love for books (and it doesn't hurt that their dad is an avid reader too). Mimi is already reading chapter books above her grade level, and she's been known to walk around the house with her nose buried in her latest story of interest. Though Rosie's not yet reading, she's beginning to write words and draw "stories," and she will narrate them passionately for anyone willing to listen.
My girls love their bedtime stories too. Between Santa, grandparents, and 3 doting uncles, we've been working through a whole pile of literary Christmas gifts during our nighttime story hour. Rosie loves clever picture books, so she's been enjoying her new Mo Willems stories and titles from the Dr. Seuss Beginner Books series.
Tonight at bedtime I grabbed Rosie's current book obsession, "I Wish That I Had Duck Feet." It's a fun read and both girls enjoy it. I silently chuckle at some of the outdated context (Mom in her pearls cleaning the house while Dad smokes a cigar and reclines in the yard) -- but the clever rhymes and wordplay make it easy to overlook those distractions. Dr. Seuss was a brilliant man.
But after we read "Duck Feet," it was Mimi's turn. She grabbed a book she'd picked out at the library this afternoon: a Disney Fairies beginning reader's book called "The Fairy Berry Bake-Off," featuring a cover filled with lush-lipped pixies and sparkly fairy dust. The "plot" of the book is that two fairies in Pixie Hollow supply the other fairies with baked goods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But the two fairies become slightly competitive with one another as they try to establish who is the best baker.
Sounds innocuous, right? You would think so -- but the more Mimi read, the more I had to stifle my laughter. I'll let some excerpts from the book speak for themselves.
(note: some slight editing follows for brevity, but I swear this is how the dialogue flows.)
"Yum!" exclaimed Tink. "I'm so hungry, I could eat a whole cherry all by myself!"
Tinker Bell couldn't decide what to try first. At that moment, something special caught her eye. She popped a tiny tart into her mouth. "That's the best tart I've ever had!" she said.
In the kitchen, Dulcie, a baking talent fairy, overheard Tink. "Tinker Bell loves my tarts!" she exclaimed with a smile... She really loved to bake. But she also loved to watch the other fairies enjoy her tasty treats.
The baking-talent fairy Ginger was nearby. When she heard Dulcie, she frowned. "I think that was one of my tarts," she told Dulcie.
"Oh, I don't think so," Dulcie said sweetly. "Your tarts tend to be a little dry and hard."
Ginger most certainly did not agree. She knew that her tarts were always moist and flaky.
Ginger was fed up. "Dulcie, you wouldn't know what to do with a berry if it fell into your piecrust!"
The berry bake-off was getting out of control.
Ginger stumbled backward. Her cupcakes went flying everywhere!
Dulcie brushed Ginger's cupcake crumbs off her apron. She tasted her fingers.
"Oh my," said Dulcie. "This is good!"
Ginger smiled. She took a tiny taste of Dulcie's seven-layer cake. "Wow," she said. "So is yours!"
And so the fairy berry bake-off ended in a tasty tie.
So tell me, friends. Are these fairies hungry for more than baked goods, or have the Christmas holidays warped my brain?
I do know one thing: tomorrow night I'm going back to my friend Dr. Seuss for story time. I might have to explain why the dad's smoking a cigar, but that's a heck of a lot easier than telling Mimi how the fairy ended up with a berry in her piecrust.