While I consciously self-monitor to ensure I’m not favouring anything related to my son because it would vicariously meet a personal desire, there is one thing so far that I have chosen to do: bring on Beatrix Potter.
I remember treasuring the select little hardcover books we had in our home library — Mrs Tiggywinkle the hedgehog, Little Pig Robinson, Jemima Puddleduck and the eponymous Peter Rabbit. The entire collection of all 23 books was an unimaginable prize, a children’s literature abundance the personal posession of which could barely be imagined.
Nonetheless, it’s been in the back of my mind for more than two years. (Yes, you read that correctly, i.e. since before he was born.)
This week, using a baby shower gift from my work colleagues, we purchased and received the boxed set, “World of Peter Rabbit.” (Good thing those Amex giftchecks don’t expire, as we’ve been determined to spend them only on memorable items!) Better yet, the set was astoundingly 60% less than cost on Amazon, and shipping was free.
It was perfect timing as I’ve been oberving Calvin’s sudden love of ‘reading’ to himself i.e. paging through books by himself and accompanying this with all sorts of vocalizations — a mix of clearly recognizeable English and French words and other sounds. Not to mention he is an avid animal lover. All those factors aside, I was somewhat trepidacious at the moment of truth.
Happily, the result is a pair of pleased people in our household. He loves the fact that the books come in their own special case and just as Potter had envisioned, they are perfectly sized for small hands. Somehow he recognizes some books from the spines, even though they only have text. (I’m guessing it’s the relative width of the books that he’s clued into.) As for me? I remain in a slight state of blissful disbelief at the fact that we have our own complete set of beloved Beatrix Potter.
Reality checks? Some of the stories are longer and more complex than I remember, but on the upside, that leaves lots of room to grow into them. Some of the stories are a little silly in retrospect — we wondered why Squirrel Nutkin’s family didn’t think of handing the annoying and unproductive squirt over to Owl from day three!
The two current favourites are the extraordinarily long Little Pig Robinson (caveat: mom’s very abridged version that basically relates the tale from one image to another), and in first place, Mr Jeremy Fisher (an amphibian whose wardrobe choices save his life.)