Yesterday The Beaner and I had a lovely day together. We walked (or rather, I walked, he rode in the black stroller) to the bakery to buy some bread, and then we trekked down to the Italian Market to buy some more panettone cups from Fantes (I need them for muffin baking). On the way back we stopped at Seeger playground and played on the little toddler gym for a while (I'll post video tomorrow if any of the clips are decent), had a sharing showdown with another little girl over a doll-sized umbrella stroller that resulted in wailing on both sides, and then continued on to the Corner Bookstore (I think that's its name).

I couldn't remember which corner the bookstore was on, so we did a couple loops through the Fitler Square area until we struck gold at the corner of 20th and Pine. The Beaner was a little rambunctious in the shop, but I was determined to find a few new books to give him for his birthday or Christmas. The first few queries I put to the decidedly staid and not particularly well-informed (at least about children's classics like Sheep in a Jeep) clerk ended in disappointment. Titles could be ordered, of course, but hello, that's what Powell's and Amazon are for.

I ended up picking out Maisy's Morning on the Farm, which seemed like it would be The Beaner's speed, and a tale about potty training that I can't remember the name of now. As I did at the library the other day, I inquired about any books about hockey that would be appropriate for the under-5 set; I was told that most books about hockey were for older kids (which is what I found at the library, too). I'm thinking I might have to write my own "Mommy Plays Hockey!" book. If only I had any talent at all for illustration...

I was poking through the Caldecott Honor winners looking for something appropriate for 2-3 year-olds, and The Beaner was pulling random books and flashcards and wooden brain-teaser toys off the shelves when the clerk held up a book with a Caldecott Honor medal on the front and said, "have you seen this one? It's really cute." I said fine, I'd take that and the other two books, and then I tried to corral The Beaner while she wrote out the titles of all my choices longhand on a receipt pad.

When we got home, I decided to spring the books on The Beaner. He rejected the Maisy book so vehemently he practically cried when I didn't drop it immediately. Poor Maisy! Next we moved on to the potty training book, which he had me read twice. Yay, a winner! Last, he reached for the impulse purchase: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Since I hadn't looked at the book in the store or even read the back cover, I didn't know what it was about. I got the gist as I read, however.

The story is about a pigeon who wheedles and cajoles and fibs and throws a tantrum, all in an effort to get you to let him drive the bus. It's supposed to encourage kids to say "no!" every time he asks, and, I assume, to experience the thrill of being the boss. Here, finally, is a chance for my kid to yell "NO!" and not get in trouble! Seemed like a cute idea... except that my kid didn't yell "NO!" every time the pigeon wheedled and cajoled. He said "no" the first time the pigeon asked, but on the very next page, when the pigeon said, "pleeeeease?", The Beaner said, "yes." I was all, "noooooo! We're not supposed to let the pigeon drive the bus, remember?" Pigeon: "Don't you want to let me drive the bus!" Beaner: "YES!" And at that point, it was pretty difficult to read any further, because the rest of the story assumed we were saying "no" at each page.

Honestly, I could do without the two-page spread where the pigeon promises to be my best friend and give me five bucks anyway.

Posted by Lori in parenthood at 10:49 PM on November 27, 2006


Don't Let The Pigeon... is a favorite here, though I'm conflicted on it too. Little S. is, like TB, not good at standing her ground, and I'm caught between thinking that it shows her what peer pressure is, and how to not buckle, and thinking that it's showing her how to be inflexible and mean. Usually I lean towards the former, and it's very cute to hear her shout "pigeon at the wheel!"

Posted by: sconstant at November 30, 2006 8:11 AM

The same thing happened the first several times we read this book to our two-year-old. I thought it was a flop. But now, a few months on, he's become very interested in saying "NO!" to the insistent pigeon. So the book's been added back to the must-read pile.

Posted by: lori at November 30, 2006 11:07 AM

I'm with you, sconstant -- I'm torn over this book. Good for teaching about peer pressure, maybe... but I'm not sure I want him repeating the phrase "I'll be your best friiiiieeeend", as he did this morning. :-/

Lori: Good to know he'll eventually get the hang of it. For some reason not knowing that he's supposed to say "no" doesn't seem to lessen his enjoyment of the book, and he ESPECIALLY loves the part where the pigeon throws a tantrum. That page is now ripped because he turned the pages a little too enthusiastically in an attempt to fast-forward to his favorite bit.

Posted by: Lori [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 30, 2006 11:21 AM

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