Once upon a time, all the library books that entered our house were either carefully selected or approved by me. Ahem. On the increasingly rare occasions that I enter a library building with all my infamous library pillagers in tow, they fan out and frantically stuff their loot sacks like they’re preparing for a fast getaway after they torch the place: zero to card limit in 60 seconds or less.
Once their bags are bulging, the boys sit and gloat over their haul while I make some more measured selections. I attempt at least a cursory glance at what they’ve grabbed before we check out—one boy in particular has a penchant for overdosing in the section of whatever he’s passionate about at the moment. (Memorably, he once emptied the entire shelf of Johnny Lion books into his bag—triplicates and all.) When we get home, I’ll just refuse to read anything that’s particularly obnoxious, and hide the mind-numbing ones after a reading or two.
Honestly, this element of surprise makes at least the first reading of all the picture books a bit more exciting ;P. And occasionally, something interesting surfaces. Someone recently grabbed the 1966 edition of Babar and his Children (original copyright 1939), and here is how it ends:
Now everyone is asleep. Babar and Celeste will soon go to bed too. They are gradually calming down after all these exciting events.
“Truly it is not easy to bring up a family,” sighs Babar. “But how nice the babies are! I wouldn’t know how to get along without them any more.”