b Papa Dog's Blog: It's Never to Soon to Long for Bygone Days

Papa Dog's Blog

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

It's Never to Soon to Long for Bygone Days

More than a year ago in this faversham, the books that two-month-old Baby Dog was enjoying. Not all of those books have remained in the hit parade. Ten Little Ladybugs has remained a constant favourite, to the point that it’s had to be repaired with duct tape. Are You My Mother? has been similarly constant, though it’s held up better to the wear and tear. A favourite photo of mine shows me lying on the bed reading that book to Baby Dog, who gazes at it in rapt attention. One might assume that this was just a split second caught on film and that she’d been wriggling about and looking at other things all the while, but no, she really did intently watch the books I read her when she was two months old, and she continues to do so today – though now she’s more likely to pick up another book when she gets bored in the middle.

Back then there was one book, Over in the Meadow, which I sometimes suspected I liked more than she did. It was always part of our regular repertoire, but I rather assumed the simpler and gaudier illustrations in Ten Little Ladybugs were garnering a greater share of her attention. The subtle hues of Ezra Jack Keats’ watercolours seemed unlikely to arrest her attention, except maybe for the very bold red background on the page with the crows. Moreover, unlike most of the others, this was not a board book, but an old-fashioned flimsy children’s book – light cardboard cover, very tearable paper insides. When Baby Dog got big enough that she wanted to handle the books herself, this one was placed on administrative leave for its own protection.

Sometime in the last few weeks, its found its way back into the rotation, and to our great surprise it’s become Baby Dog’s absolute favourite. It’s the first book she reaches for in the morning and the last one she wants to hear at night. Maybe it’s the rhythmic meter. Maybe she’s old enough now to better distinguish the figures of the animals in the paintings. Or maybe – and this is my favourite theory – she’s experiencing the first nostalgia of her life. Maybe this book brings back warm and pleasant memories of those halcyon days of last year when she was only two months old and could scarcely dream of one day holding a book in her very own hands.


Blogger Judy said...

What is it with 10 little ladybugs? Tyler is ALL OVER that book!

12:26 PM  

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