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You kids get off my lawn. 


Longjohns - Kit Allen This is one of a quartet of board books that I picked up when my boy was toothless and small. (The others are Swimsuit, Sweater, and Galoshes.) The four books all follow the seasons, and dress an androgyne character in the necessary costume of the season. Longjohns, boots, a scarf, a hat. Then the character goes out and engages in season appropriate fun: sledding for the winter, swimming for the summer. They all end, the way the best books for the drooling set ends, with the character falling asleep. Each panel is an image with one word that ends in sleep. Oh yeah.

I've given away most of my board books, now that my kids have teeth and words. Didn't seem age appropriate anymore. But the girl is approaching literacy, one sound at a time, and she started asking me about these today. Do you know the books that rhyme with sleep? She asked me today. I didn't get for an absurdly long time that she meant rhyme as a structural parallelism, because, c'mon, what five year old uses the term structural parallelism? So we dug them out, and she read them to me.

Honestly, I'm near tears. She read them, for real this time. She didn't get everything right, and for sure she's using visual clues from the costumes as much as she is sounding out the letters in her mind, but holy, holy, holy, cow, she's reading. Literacy is this threshold, where we learn to read the minds of others, through what they decide to put down on the page. I'm not going to be the gatekeeper in the strictest of senses anymore; she will find the worlds she finds.

So, board books aren't just for the gumming set, if they are written right, and these ones are. It seems silly to give something that has less than twenty words five stars, but for what it is, and how it can age through development, these are fantastic books. And my baby can read them. Sniff.