You know what one of my favorite things about preschool is? My son is finally old enough that his teachres stuff those Scholastic book flyers in his schoolbag every month.
Remember those? How can you not? When I was a kid, I lived for those book order forms. Granted, I was a big old nerd...er, bookworm...so I loved books anyway. The chance to order brand new books and receive them all at once at school was absolutely irresistible to me. My mother usually only allowed me to select three, maybe four, books, but that just made the whole selection process that much more intense. I pored over the pages, flipping them back and forth, marking my choices with my No. 2 pencil, before finally winnowing it down to an acceptable number. Then Mom carefully filled out the information portion of the form and wrote a check for the total.
Graciously, and despite the fact that we didn't have a lot of disposable income in those years, Mom always let me order enough books to qualify for the free poster that you received for ordering a predetermined number of items. The poster was always something nauseatingly cheesey, like a picture of a tangle of kittens in a basket full of yarn, or else it was a little odd, like the picture of a single white duck in the middle of a lush green lawn. But still! You had to get the poster! It was like the prize in the Happy Meal.
And then I looked eagerly forward to the day when the Scholastic book orders came in. At the end of the school day, the teacher handed out the stacks of books, always bound together with rubber bands. When she put my order on my desk, I couldn't wait to flip through my new treasures.
Of course, today we have Amazon.com, Borders,Barnes and Noble and all that. We have super bookstores that stock just about everything, something that we didn't have when I was growing up and had to rely on teeny-tiny Waldenbooks or B-Dalton's limited selections. And these days, I can order just about any book ever published online, get free super-saver shipping, and have a box delivered to my door in about two or three days. You'd think that Scholastic book ordering would have lost some of its appeal for me. Weirdly, no. It hasn't. William has received order forms for three months in a row now, and each time, I've spread them out over the kitchen table and eagerly combed through the forms and made checkmarks next to the items with the most potential. Should we get "Thump, Quack, Moo"? or "Pinkalicious"? What about the series of beginning reader books about the solar system? Decisions, decisions!
This past month, I just ordered a set of Christmas books that all tell some version of the Nativity story. Lord knows (er, no pun intended) that we have a boatload of Christmas books already, but I'm always on the lookout for another one that manages to combine good artwork and good storytelling. So far, we've read three of the four books that arrived last week. William seems to be enjoying them. He certainly likes new books in general. But I don't know if he's really caught on yet to how exciting it is to get new books at school. Maybe he won't. Maybe he's already too accustomed to buying books at Davis-Kidd and receiving them through the mail. That makes me a little sad to contemplate, actually. But as long as he grows up loving books, it really doesn't matter where the books came from.