“I Want Books With Letters In Them”

Just when I think Sophie has done everything to amuse me, she goes off and does something else. This time it has to do with book preferences. Sophie is an avid reader and loves going to bookstores with Bryan and me. This shouldn’t surprise anyone since she’s the offspring of two book nerds whose idea of a great date night is spending hours in a bookstore.

A few weeks ago, the three of us journeyed to Borders for the afternoon. Bryan quickly found his place among the bargain books and the business and marketing section. Armed with a few books of interest to me (novels and cookbooks), Sophie and I set out for the children’s section. This is where Sophie checks out random books and observes the other kids reading.

However, I’ve noticed that lately, Sophie tends to get bored in the kids section and wants something more. When we’ve browsed the Goodwill Bookstore, she  spends more time looking through picture-less trade paperbacks than children’s books. Given that pattern, she was ready to leave the Borders children’s section pretty quickly.

And then she made her way to a display of trade paperback Harlequin romance books (why these were next to the children’s section, I will never know). Sophie quickly grabbed a few of the shelves and began “reading” them. Needless to say, I was grateful she couldn’t actually read yet.

Sophie was enthralled! She was staring at pages, turning them carefully, and telling me she was reading the books.

“Sophie, don’t you want to read one of the other book in the kid’s section with pictures?” I asked.

“No,” Sophie responded. “This book is better.”

“Why?” I asked. “There are no pictures for you to look at.”

“Well, I can read the letters. I like books with letters.”

Bryan then asked her what the Harlequin selection was about. To which she replied, “It’s about a cowboy.” I’m pretty sure the Borders saleswoman heard this and was ready to call Child Protective Services. Meanwhile I’m starting to wonder if this kid really can read!

Then came the inevitable request to take the book home.  Knowing full well I was not about to spend money on a Harlequin romance novel, I told her I had something similar at home she can have. And by similar, I mean a trade paperback.

Later that day, Sophie asked me for her “new” book with letters in it. I don’t own that many trade paperbacks, so I pulled off my shelf the only book that matched the description — Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War. While I’ll be the first to agree The Winds of War is a fascinating historical novel, I couldn’t understand why she preferred this World War II epic to Corduroy or the Ladybug Girl series.

But Sophie loved her book! She proceeded to walk around the house for days “reading” The Winds of War. She said it was quite good. I’m now expecting a request any day now for the sequel, War and Remembrance.

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