There's a pile of books in our house kept high on a shelf where sticky fingers can't cause any harm. They're the special books that have become part of a new family tradition, a gift each Christmas for each of my girls from their mum and dad, books to treasure and look after and eventually read and love. It is my vision that these books will form part of my girls' first libraries when they eventually flee the nest. And so, thus far, I've chosen classics, special editions, hard covers. And I thought it might be some time before they were brought down from the shelf to be read.
But this morning, Lola asked to look at the "koala book". So down it came and she carefully turned the pages then asked me to read it. I didn't expect to get very far. Although it's illustrated, the pictures are few and far between, and the words many. She's an avid reader, but all of her books till now have had numerous pictures to balance the words.
But we began. And we continued. When we paused for a break, it became obvious we'd need a bookmark. So we made one. And late in the day we picked up where we left off. And then again at bedtime.
I don't remember reading 'Blinky Bill' as a kid, and it's certainly heavy on the big stuff. Poor Mr Koala meets a gruesome fate in Chapter 2 'A Tragedy', which led to an unexpected conversation with my 3.5-year-old about "What's a gun?" and "What's killed?"
Nonetheless, she is enjoying it, she's getting into it and the story alone, without pictures, is holding her attention. I thought it would be years before we got to this stage, and I've so looked forward to it. So I'm delighted.
And judging by their latest favourite activity, it looks like the sisters won't be far behind.