I have been thinking about a book my brother and I used to have, called “Could Be Worse,” about an oldish man whose grandchildren think he is terribly boring until he tells them over breakfast that the other night he was kidnapped by a bird and chased by a blob of marmalade and attacked by a snow monster. And so on.
We liked that one.
In our copy, the page near the end where Grandpa is flying home on top of a paper airplane was ripped in half diagonally and Scotch-taped back together.
Still, I cringe when she flings that milk over the pages.
I thought a Caldecott winner a year would be sort of a nice birthday tradition, at least for a while, and one I can keep up with. It also narrows the universe of all possible birthday gifts considerably – to a list of lovely things she is unlikely to outgrow very quickly or very completely.
I knew this one would be first. I underestimated how much I would like picking out something she would like. Not something a baby would like. But something I knew Alice would enjoy. And she does.
I was not the kind of pregnant lady who whispered to her belly.
And for a while, even though we were alone in the house, I was self-conscious about reading aloud to a person who could neither understand the words nor bring the pictures into focus. But I did it anyway because it seemed like the good thing to do.
And now, now it is coming together.