A UNICORN ON MY HEAD

 Beware of taking a child to the library or you, too, may find a unicorn on your head.

The children’s writer Lewis Buzbee is coming to town soon to do a writing workshop that promises to appeal to adult writers, also. He’s written a book I wanted to read and ask about: Steinbeck’s Ghost.  In it, he writes of Steinbeck and several of his characters and since the third book in my loosely connected trilogy is entitled Rose of Sharon, you might guess we have something in common.

Last Monday was beautifully sunny with temps nearing 70 degrees, unseasonably warm as they say. The rest of the country was wrapped in wool and down and whatever was available to guard against unseasonable cold. I picked Allie up from pre-school and her speech class but it was too nice to head home.  She will be five in April, has a very active imagination and loves books and being read to. With books inherited from her sister and cousins and those bought specifically for her, her shelves runneth over. She’d never been to a library. It was time.

 We talked of how it is possible to take books home for a while, but maybe they better stay in Grandma’s room so not to get lost in hers. She agreed, though we’d come back to that again…and again. When we entered the library, she looked up and down the long aisles of the adult section with something close to shock on her face. In the huge children’s room, she walked up and down, touching book after book, pulling out the small chairs so much prettier than the ones at school. Posters caught her eye, as did the children using computers and headsets. We were early enough that the after-school crowds hadn’t arrived.

 While the librarian helped locate my book, Allie took her time choosing. She made such delightful choices: Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s ready-to-read Dog and Bear: Two Friends and Three Stories. Her other choice: Where go the Boats? Play-Poems of Robert Louis Stevenson.

 Obviously, the child has an innate sense of Great Literature. I mean, Stevenson’s poetry???  Seeger?

Our reading took on a new depth one night. Allie, that dimpled darling redhead, said that her animals wanted to see the books, too. Nothing would do but that they were placed on and around my lap and head (yes, that’s a unicorn up there on high), the better to see and read.  Mind you, I had a hard time seeing the page with all these critters jostling for seats at the banquet. They all liked the poems and, I think, recognized themselves in Dog and Bear.

 The moral of the story: Take a child to the Library; you, too, will find magic in your life if not a unicorn on top of your head!

14 thoughts on “A UNICORN ON MY HEAD”

  1. My friendly hairdresser, Elaine, is mentor to an eleven year old girl and has just taken her to the library for the child’s first experience there. Same experience except for unicorn. I have forwarded your blog to Elaine.

  2. Would you believe that at dinner tonight, Allie went around and put a book by each of our plates! She’s been demanding her reading time for months and likes to pick out random letters, and now letters to form words out of whatever I’m reading. Listening to her at play is a lesson in story telling.
    Multiple gifts.

  3. I have an Allie, too, now 14, who even now when she stays overnight,wants me to read a favorite “childhood” book as she drifts off to sleep. I’m glad she’s not too big yet and only on the edges of trying to be “cool.” I’m glad she feels secure enough to allow herself to preserve for as long as she can, a part of the magic we once shared when we would lie in Meme’s bed, Papa banished to the guest room, with a stack of storybooks to read until we’d fall asleep.

  4. What a lovely story, Eunie. My Allie’s name is derived from the 19th century spelling of my name: Aletta. Seems a nurse made a mistake in spelling mine and my mom preferred it. Grandkids are such a special species, sent just for us to enjoy…and raise our hopes for the future.

  5. Loved your post Arletta. It reminds me of a time when my youngest son was small and we had reading parties on my bed. He brought all his books and we went through as many as time allowed. Now he’s 23. Miss those special times.

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