I visited my daughter’s school for Read Across America Day, because I will take any opportunity to read to kids. They’re good audiences, and then I get to share picture books I really like. This year’s selections are to the right.
The kids enjoyed both books. Their reactions weren’t necessarily what I was expecting, though. For “After the Fall”—a book I absolutely love—I thought the kids would be amazed by the two-page spread at the end, and some of them were, but we also had an entire conversation about egg physics. As in: How come Humpty didn’t totally shatter in the first place? How were they able to put him back together? When I drop an egg, it breaks and you can’t put that back together. If you drop an egg even from this high, it totally breaks. …
I suggested that perhaps Humpty was a stronger egg than he thought he was.
The adorable talking lion statues in “Lost in the Library” were apparently not a problem, from a scientific standpoint. And on the page showing the classic children’s books that one of the lions was reading, the kids correctly guessed the book titles (okay, they needed a little help with “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.” But they got the others).
It was a reminder that you can’t predict readers’ reactions to a book. All you can do is read it, and hope they like it. And not knowing what kids are going to say next is actually half the fun of being around kids.
This might have been my last Read Across America Day. My daughter will be in fifth grade next year, and they might think they’re too old for someone’s mom to come in and read to them.
But who knows? Everyone likes a good story.