The Unexpected Hilarity of Indestructible Story Time

To my great delight, The Colonel is going through an enthusiastic “book phase.” Other than her baby doll with the one pink sock, her toys right now are largely ignored. It’s her favorite thing to pick out a book, toddle it over to us, present it expectantly and wait for us to lift her up into our laps to read, at which point she squeals in delight. It’s awesome and I hope it lasts until she’s at least 25.

I guess it was sometime last week I bought her a set of four of these Indestructible Nursery Rhyme books through the deal-a-day site Baby Steals. They arrived earlier this week, and, as expected, she thinks they’re pretty great. I’d have to agree; there’s a lot to like about these books. One, they live up to their name. They’re made of a soft, nontoxic, paper-like plastic, so will withstand chewing and attempts at ripping…which is kind of what some “reading” can be at The Colonel’s age or younger. They’re waterproof and you can even throw them in the dishwasher! Now, if only we had a dishwasher! I mean, besides me and my husband!

The other thing that’s really great about these books is that, while they tell the classic nursery rhymes of Humpty Dumpty, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Old MacDonald and Hey Diddle Diddle, they tell them in a decidedly non-traditional way. For one thing, there’s no words. These are picture books, and it’s up to the readers to fill in the story. Maybe it ends up being the classic nursery rhyme, maybe it ends up being an altogether different tale. The possibilities are endless and I adore how it fosters creativity and true storytelling. The other thing I just love about them is that each nursery rhyme is set in an unexpected geographic location, giving them a decidedly international flair. For example, Mary Had a Little Lamb is set in Africa, Old MacDonald in Bolivia, Hey Diddle Diddle in New Orleans, and Humpty Dumpty falls from the Great Wall of China. The books are illustrated by Jonas Sickler in a fun, colorful folk art style that’s like candy to little (and grown-up) eyes.

The Colonel’s love of books has inserted itself firmly into our work week morning routine. It’s always been that, while I’m getting ready, Ron and The Colonel sit out in the living room sharing Ron’s breakfast, eating snack puffs, sharing snack puffs with the dog, watching the news, playing with toys, etc. Now, more often than not, I hear the sounds of Ron reading coming from the living room, and it tickles me to no end to hear him tell our daughter stories. The lack of words in this new set of books has ushered in a new sort of hilarity, though…now he’s editorializing and gleefully going off script, just like these books probably intend. Here’s what I heard from my spot in the bathroom this morning, mascara wand in hand:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall in China,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
And all the king’s horses, and all the king’s men,
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
So they made egg drop soup with him.

I could have kissed him. Come to think of it, I should have. I’m still smiling about it. Ahh, reading. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

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