A Big 'Kid' with a Love of Small Books

Article excerpt

When my sons were children, I fitted into the movie theater audience. I also belonged in the children's book section. No raised eyebrows; no questions asked.

But now that my boys have grown and moved away, I stand out like a giant beanstalk growing through the roof.

I miss those juvenile cartoons with the lovable heroes and happily-ever-after endings. Little Nemo is my hero. My husband and I both adore "Monsters, Inc." and the little girl, Boo. She reminds us of a sweet niece who lives too far away to use for camouflage when we want to see a kids' flick.

The truth is, I adore children's stories. The moment I feel my creativity lag, I head for the picture-book section of the local library or bookstore. I always have.

When my men were boys, we chortled together over "The Giant Jam Sandwich" and "Dooley and the Snortsnoot." As they developed a taste for things a touch more literary, it was "The Hobbit" and "Where the Red Fern Grows."

During my own childhood, I constantly listened to a record of "The Teddy Bear's Picnic." My mother still can't stand to hear that song after listening to it daily until she sent me off to school.

Once I learned to read, I read soup cans, street signs, and billboards. The cereal box at the breakfast table is where I discovered I could order classic literature, paying for it with box tops. We went through a lot of cornflakes that summer. For weeks after we sent the box tops off, I harassed the local postmaster: "Do I have a package?" "Did it arrive?" "Hasn't it gotten here, yet?"

The postal employees were all so glad when the box finally arrived that the clerk locked up the post office and ran across the street to deliver the box personally to my front door. …