Having just entertained two pre-readers, ages 2 and almost 5, for several days, I am remembering what Eudora Welty wrote about her early book experiences. Her mother read to her while she churned butter in the kitchen, while they rocked together, while they sat in front of a fire together.
She writes in the not-to-be missed One Writer's Beginnings:
"It had been startling and disappointing to me to find out that story books had been written by people, that books were not natural wonders, coming up of themselves like grass. Yet regardless of where they came from, I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them--with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself."
Is there anything better than holding a child with a book in your lap, sitting next to a young child whose eyes grow bigger each time guessing the name of Rumpelstiltskin is attempted, or the fireflies blink on and off in Eric Carle's tiny masterpiece of a board book, or together with toddler, bid goodnight to the old lady whispering hush?
If only all our children adored books as much as Eudora Welty did.