Peter Pan Me, Please

Oy vey.  I must say, I've been much more focused on new summer clothes, fashion, fragrance, fine food, and finally, FINALLY having enough money to pay off my credit card (yay!) to think much about the world of books this month.  I have still been reading up a storm, though, and that Secret Life review will be coming up quicker than you think (or than I planned).  I've actually already finished the book.  However, I'm making a point this time to read the appendices, as they diverge from the usual list format and are actually giving me more information about the author's sources, and consequently, about Marilyn.

Reading about a woman who is portrayed as never having truly grown up, and with summer fast approaching, I'm in the mood for light, dependable kids' books.  The B/F and I often have rather emphatic debates about age-appropriate reading material: when is it time to bite the bullet and stop reading books written for a younger audience?

The B/F will tell you that as you grow up, it's time to move on to more and more grown-up subject matter.  Like in phases, I guess.  What bothers me is when he tells me you can't go back.

What are you talking about?  Of course you can go back.  I know the way well.  Right back through all the bestsellers, chick lit, fiction, non-fiction, romance novels, fantasy/sci-fi, cookbooks, history, social science, and self-help, to land smack in the middle of the young adult section.  Or maybe even the children's section.  And sometimes even the infants' section!  (Don't deny it.  That bunny tail will always be so nice and soft to touch.) 

Sure, depending on how far back you go, you might look just slightly ridiculous.  But, when I browse those sections, I usually find that people think I'm there looking for a gift.  No need to feel embarrassed.  Sometimes you need simplicity in your head.  I can't think of a better way to get there than to read a children's book.  It's not like no one else is doing it.

So, obviously, my unshakable answer to The B/F's protests?  Never.  You are never too old for a kids' book.  Look at the success of Twilight among adults -- or Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  Heck, are you going to tell me you wouldn't sit down to read the first Captain Underpants from cover to cover if you had the chance? 

Kids' books are great because they don't hide anything.  You know exactly what you're getting.  There is not much guessing, not much reading between the lines.  This might sound backwards, or incredibly lazy, but every once in awhile, it's just so refreshing to have everything spelled out for you.  It's like therapy. 

The feeling of nostalgia I get when I re-read a FAVORITE kids' book is the BEST.  Oh, there are so many.  The Rough-Faced Girl.  Ramona the Pest.  The Pinballs.  Henry and Mudge.  Clifford the Big Red Dog.  Clifford the Small Red Puppy.  Charlotte's Web.  The Stupids Die.  Strega Nona.  The Store-Bought Doll.  Thundercake.  The Baby-sitters Club.  Spider Saves Easter.  The Sweet Smell of Christmas.  Oh, The Sweet Smell of Christmas.  That book was amazing.

Last fall when we took a trip with my family down to our favorite beach vacation spot, The B.F. and I ventured into the local bookstore (I still have no idea what it's called, even though I've been inside it at least once during every trip of the 9+ years my family has vacationed there), and THERE IT WAS.  An entire display of children's books, stacked with literally most of my favorites.  I wanted to ask how much for the whole five shelves.  The B.F. just stood, shuffling his feet, watching me melt, prodding me to leave them.  But how could I?  How could I leave Hats for Sale?  And Frog and Toad?  And Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus?  And Babe the Gallant Pig (way better than the movie, btw)And Stone Soup?  Seriously, you want me to put down Stone Soup?  With the same cover I remember from my childhood?  I honest-to-goodness got teary-eyed when I could see that The B/F didn't understand my feelings for those books, when they didn't touch him in the way they touched me. 

Sometimes I think I want to have children just so I can buy books for them, then steal them and read them for myself.  Under the covers.  With a flashlight.  We'll put the hall light on and turn the TV up in the other room just for effect.  When books can bring you to that special place, the one that makes you feel so good and safe, the one you thought was nearly gone, that's when you know they are worth reading.  That's what kids' books do for me.

And that's not so bad, is it?


  1. It's not bad at all! I am really enjoying rediscovering favourite books of my youth with my kids... and new titles too. A well-written book is a well-written book no matter what. Even the board books for babies -- some of them I have now read a hundred times or more, and I still enjoy them. My son is 7 now, and that means we're finally able to get to meatier chapter books, and it's awesome.

    I feel like people aren't as judgmental of adults who want to view "kids" movies or TV shows than they are of books. If you were to go and see Toy Story 3 next weekend with your B/F, no one would bat an eye; if you admitted to your friends that you were hooked on One Tree Hill and the new Beverly Hills 90210, they'd probably have the courage to admit the same. Do you think that books are seen as more "cerebral" or a higher pursuit of some kind, and thus we should always be working at our reading?


  2. That is a really good point, Lynn, one I didn't even think of. I will say I recently learned The B/F will most likely apply his stance to all media, EXCEPT The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, G.I. Joe, and *maybe* Darkwing Duck. He would not agree to watch Wishbone with me.

    However, I did get him hooked on hot sauce, so there's no chance of me giving up getting him re-hooked on kids' stuff.

    This may be another sociology/psychology/some-kind-of-ology project in the making. Thanks!!