“Peek a Choo-Choo”: Zelda Discovers Books

By Angela

I’ve loved reading since I was a little kid. My mom and dad tell me I always had my nose stuck in a book, and I preferred books over toys. Recently, my mother gave me a box of old books that had been sitting in the attic: a vintage Disney storybook, two volumes of fairy tales (the originals, not the sanitized versions), Richard Scarry books, Aesop’s Fables in Scots verse, and more. My love for reading followed me through grade school and college, and to this day there is nothing more exciting to me than starting a new book.

I’ve been hoping Zelda becomes a bookworm, too. She didn’t show much interest in books until Christmas, when she got a cute book called Peek a Who? from her grandparents and another one entitled That’s Not My Dinosaur! from her cousins in Oklahoma. One night, when she wouldn’t settle down one night, I heard Matt reading Peek a Who to her. She quieted down, so he read it to her again and then successfully put her to bed.

Zelda surrounded by her favorites. Peek a Who, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, Baby Animals (from the kiddie encyclopedia), That’s Not My Dinosaur, Peek a Boo, and Sea Star, from the Little Ocean series.

Somewhere in the weeks to come, she would start finding the book and handing it to us to read. Sometimes it would be punctuated by her way of saying “read this”: YAAAA DEEEE. And we wouldn’t read it once, we would read it no less than ten times, sometimes more. That’s Not My Dinosaur! got added to the mix, and soon we were constantly reading those two books, day in and day out.

Reading Peek a Boo on a trip to Virginia Beach.

She now has a rotating set of books she loves, including random tiny books from a kids’ encyclopedia set her grandparents gave her. Her books, not her toys, litter the main room of our house, and they keep her entertained while we travel. Matt and I, with our regular habit of creating our own language, will let loose with a random “Peek a MOO” or “gorilla infant” at random times and laugh like it’s the funniest joke ever.

She doesn’t do the YAAA DEEE as much anymore, but she does cry when I finish a book and demand I read it again. I think of all the books I’ve finished and cried because they’re over – and I wonder if I started off this way, crying at the end of a book like That’s Not My Dinosaur! When I open the book and start reading again, she stops immediately. It’s uncanny.

Elizabeth I’s biography from the rebel girls book.

My personal favorite is a book called Bedtime Stories for Rebel Girls. It’s a collection of famous women’s biographies, written like fairy tales. It has amazing artwork for each woman. I had to take the book away from her because she was starting to break the spine, but she loved looking through the pictures. I’m hoping it will be her favorite when she gets older.

While reading Peek a Who forty times a day gets old, my inner English scholar is pleased. Keeping my fingers crossed that she loves reading as much as I do.

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