Submitted by megan on Fri, 04/03/2009 - 17:33
When I got to the Grs last night for a short visit, I was met with quite a sight. A pantsless Ruby was helping Grace bread some tofu. Fiona was lying on the floor, looking mournful.
"I'm glad you're here," Grace said. "We're having some sadness."
"Oh dear," I said. "What's up, Fi?"
She just made her eyes slightly bigger. "She doesn't know," Grace said.
Grace and I continued chatting, about cell phones, what happens at Sporty Kids. I was still holding tight to the bag I'd walked in with.
"I would like a book," Fiona stated, still lying on her back on the floor.
"Well!" I said. "Are you in luck! Because what do I happen to have right here? A book! For you! And your sister!"
Ruby was too busy with the tofu to care much, but Fiona was really excited. We snuggled ourselves into the couch, I opened the book and started reading. After a couple of "Wow!"s about some particularly astonishing figures, Ruby bipped in and out, wandering off to get more snacks, wandering back for a few more facts. Fiona settled into silence. I couldn't tell if she was rapt or bored. Since I was getting bored, I should have been able to guess.
It's too bad, because when I saw the book at City Lights, I loved it immediately. The illustrations are gorgeous, sharp angles and muted 50s pastels. Beautiful font. It's a great size as well, a nice rectangle, and not too many words on each page. I clutched it to my chest (along with Valencia, for a somewhat dichotomous purchase), quite chuffed with myself.
Halfway through actually reading it out loud, however, I was maybe not quite so chuffed. The language was very grown up, lacking rhythm and play. The facts were boring facts that kids don't care about.
Fiona concurred. "This book," she announced, "makes no sense."
"Pardon?" I said.
"It makes no sense."
"Well," I responded, gamely looking for the bright side, "it's not really so much a story to make sense as it is just a series of facts about San Francisco."
"This story. Makes no sense. And the pictures," she continued, "are greyful."
It is impossible to argue with a three year old's perfectly perceptive neologisms. Grace chose us another book.