It would appear overnight: rows and rows of paperbacks, “chapter books” and illustrated classics. When the Scholastic Book Fair rolled into my middle school, setting up shop amidst the short stacks in the library, I didn’t even try to act cool. Who can act cool in the face of a veritable literary buffet?
Having some of my parents’ cash in my pocket and the autonomy to choose any book I wanted was intoxicating. I remember obsessing over the flyer sent home, tallying up the costs for stories I wanted to share with Mom and Dad (I always went overboard — imagine). I’d come home clutching a new purchase like Walk Two Moons, an all-time favorite. Then I’d collapse on my grandparents’ couch after school and get lost in another world until dinnertime.
My husband casually dropped the first Scholastic flyer sent home from the kids’ preschool on the kitchen counter with all the other mail and detritus, like it was just another piece of paper.
I wasn’t ready for the buoyant whoosh of emotion that hit me when I saw it. I’m talking serious, legitimate excitement … I mean, as excited as a frazzled 34-year-old mom with a pinched nerve in her back can get, anyway. I sat down with this thing like it was a particularly juicy bit of gossip I wanted to absorb in great detail.
And absorb I did. I started circling books like it was 1996, y’all. Curious George! Little Owl’s Snow! Dinosaurs Don’t Have Bedtimes! Few stories were safe from my Sharpie.
Never mind that we have stacks and stacks of children’s books already — some I began collecting long before Oliver and Hadley were even born. But as my sister correctly pointed out, the collection we have now features baby-approved or extremely “young” stories. As we get closer to Ollie learning to read himself, I’m investigating the early readers and beyond.
I chose two new stories to add into the bedtime rotation, placing our order online (hello, 2019!). I’m definitely more excited than they could possibly be.
And now, the hardest part … the wait.