Every once and awhile you find the perfect book at the perfect moment. Everything about it from the cover and title to the pictures and story just scream that eternal YES! into the universe.
This weekend I went to the library with my sister - not the yuppie lawyer sister, the ditsy pre-school teacher sister*. We were selecting picture books for her classroom when I stumbled on this jewel of a book.
Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don't) is the perfect illustration of what it must be like for a book hater (named Alex) to be tortured by a book loving nut (named mom).
Really I could go on about it, but I think the title and the cover says it all. I spent the summer trying to cram every childhood classic, every new young adult fiction book into Alex's hands only to hear her say, "I don't like boy detective stories" and "I don't like books about girls who are age 8 or live on the prairie, or in Green Gables." And "No, I don't want to read about dragons or Egypt or museums or runaways or pirates or outsiders or cats or tree houses or fairies or goosebumps or box car children." If a book has been printed in English, I'm pretty sure Alex has turned her nose up at it.
Alex isn't me. I know this. Alex isn't a reader. I have gotten the hint. I guess I should be glade that she has found two series that she loves. She loves for me to read her Harry Potter, which is great because I love to read Harry Potter. She also loves Meg Cabott's Allie Finkle series, which tells me the kid has good taste. I guess I'm just sad that her love of books, so far has not extended beyond those two collections of characters. That there are whole worlds of people out there that she just refuses, for whatever reason, to even THINK about finding out about.
If I were smart, and I'm not, I would have learned to stop suggesting books. I'm pretty sure Alex's hatred of any one book directly correlates to the number of times I have sung its praises. If I were smart, and I'm not, I would just shut up about it all ready. At the end of Miss Brooks the girl does find that perfect book, just like when Alex FINALLY picked a book off her summer reading list (Diary of a Wimpy Kid) she loved it, and flew through it, and then begged for the rest of the series.
Miss Brooks Loves Books (and I don't) was such the perfect "Alex and me" story that did a little jig inside as I checked it. "Alex is going to hate this book!" I told my pre-school teaching sister. But I was still excited to read it to Alex. I was excited to share this perfect book I had found. And true to form, when I had read the last page, I looked at Alex and she didn't say a word. She gave me her classic, "what-did-I-do-to-deserve-this-torture" look. While I'm still sad that she didn't like it, or the other thousands of books I wish she would just look at, it was still a great "yep-I-know-my-daughter" moment.
* I think I should note, that when I describe my sisters as "ditsy" or "yuppie" I do so with love.
(and hat-tip to Goodreads.com for the image of the book)