Monday, April 27, 2009

Bedtime stories

Today is my oldest son's ninth birthday. It hardly seems possible, but my little boy isn't so little anymore. He no longer wants me to kiss him or hold his hand, he doesn't believe in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny and he's prone to rolling his eyes at all my jokes, even the funny ones. His number one birthday wish was for an MP3 player, and when he received one this morning, he told me it was "tight". There's no denying it--Ryan is growing up.

Thankfully, however, traces of his younger self remain. One example of this is his enduring interest in bedtime stories. I always hoped my children would inherit my love of books, and toward that end I've spent untold hours reading them books calculated to hold their interest--stories about trains, dinosaurs, robots and planets. Even now when both boys are more than capable of reading to themselves, they still want me to read to them every night.

Mostly I like this bedtime ritual, but there are some nights when I am tired and crabby, and I just want the kids to go straight to bed. This happened recently. I tried to convince the boys that they could read to themselves, but Ryan wasn't buying it. He absolutely insisted I read him a book.

"Fine," I said. "If you want a book, then you're going to get a horse book." I marched downstairs and returned with one of my own childhood favorites, Irene Brady's Doodlebug.
Predictably, Ryan rolled his eyes at the sight of it. I ignored him and started reading. Within a few pages, I forgot I was crabby. I hadn't read Doodlebug in years and I was delighted to discover that it was as good as I remembered. My kids were equally enthralled. They listened quietly to the entire book and even wanted to discuss it after.
Of course, Ryan will not actually admit that he liked my horse book. He is way too cool for that, and he continues to roll his eyes every time I suggest we choose a book from my bookcase rather than his. Still, he has listened attentively to every horsey selection and has begun to express an inerest in riding with me. I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner! I don't know how long it will be until Ryan decides he's too old for bedtime stories. I suspect that day is coming soon, but I'm glad it's not here yet--I still have a whole shelf full of horse books to read to him!


  1. I enjoyed reading this but then, of course, what grandmother wouldn't?

  2. I love that book! I ran across a copy at a yard sale when I was about thirteen. It came with puppy toothmarks in the corners, and I still have it. Thanks for the smile this morning!

  3. Stephanie WiedenhuesApril 28, 2009 at 11:25 AM

    I haven't heard of this book until you. Many thanks. I just checked Amazon and purchased it. My daughter turned 8 on the 26th. She loves to read books and to be read to, and of course, loves horse books. We have made the same bedtime ritual. She reads a small book or a chapter. Then, I usually read either three small books or three to four chapters. It does take a long time but we both love books and the time together. We just start to go to bed an hour earlier. It's nice to hear from another fellow book reading parent. Thanks for the reference.

  4. Stephanie, your daughter should love Doodelbug. The story is cute and not too terribly improbable and the pictures are just gorgeous. It reads aloud well, too. I'm surpised sometimes at how books can seem so different when you're reading them aloud vs. reading them to yourself. Some just flow so much better!

    Oh, and thanks Sunny for your kind words and Mom for driving me to the library so often when I was a kid!

  5. (As you can probably tell, I'm roaming around your blog now. I could do this all night - you're a GREAT writer and we share a LOT of the same interests! :-)

    I have the same book, same edition. Oddly, it's not one left over from childhood. I don't know where I got it, but is IS a great story! (Cheesy 70's illustrations and all) But my favorite is CW Anderson... can never get enough of his incredible drawing talent. Also adore Wesley Dennis and Marguerite Henry.

    Thanks for reminding me that I intend to do some blog posts of my own just about my large horse book collection!

  6. Somewhere in here there is a post about some Billy and Blaze books that were going unclaimed at a school book giveaway. I was kind of disappointed when I reread those. Didn't think they held up as well as some of my other childhood favorites. I haven't read anything else by C.W. Anderson in years. I'm not sure his books are still in the library anymore. :(

  7. Love these illustrations. C.W. Anderson was another for gorgeous artwork.

    I know I read this when I was younger, but that illustration reminded me of a library book that I pored over ALL THE TIME, "America's Horses and Ponies". I just looked it up on Amazon, and of course~ Irene Brady is the author and illustrator.

    I'm secretly pleased that I recognized the artwork, to be honest with you. =D

    I adore Sam Savitt's artwork, too, of course, but his is beauty of expression and motion. With Anderson and Brady there is a different textual quality.

  8. I used to check out "America's Horses and Ponies" out all the time, too. I'm not sure I ever read much of the text, but I *pored* over those illustrations. Oh, how I wanted to be able to draw like that!

    I would love to see that book again. I've been able to track down some of my old library favorites via eBay, but I'd kind of forgotten about that one. I'll have to add it to my list!