Having grown tired of reading The Giant Jam Sandwich to my daughter every night for the past two weeks, I went foraging for some new books. Digging through the box in the back of a closet, I stumbled upon Where the Sidewalk Ends and stashed it on the bookshelf.
The book was sitting on Sprout’s bed when she climbed in. She looked at it quizzically and then at me, silently asking if this was my doing. I told her I was going to read some poems from the book for one of her stories. She happily obliged and snuggled next to me as I began to read. She adored the book and happily drifted off to sleep moments later. I said goodnight, tucked the book under my arm and closed her door.
The book was sitting on the Bean’s bed when he climbed in. He looked at it quizzically and then at me.
“What’s this?” the Bean asked in a tone of voice that sounded almost insulted.
I told him I wanted to read some poems from the book for one of his stories. The Bean’s eyes got moist (he’s prone to crying fits when he’s tired). I told him that he would still get to read two stories of his choosing, but I wanted to read this one as a bonus book. That pacified the Bean and his eyes dried up.
I lured the Bean into the book by first reading him “Captain Hook” (Captain Hook must remember/Not to scratch his toes./Captain Hook must watch out/And never pick his nose.) He giggled. We read some more. And some more. He was enraptured.
Finally, I closed the book and prepared to tuck him in.
“Can you? Can you read that last one again?”
“The one about the outlaws and pirates and watersnakes and cannibals and eagles?”
“Yeah,” he said wide-eyed. “Please!”
I read the poem again. After I tucked in the Bean, I could not take the book with me because he refused to go to sleep until he flipped through the whole thing himself.