My mom saved a couple of boxes of my children’s books for me to give my kids. They’ve sat in the bottom of Eli’s closet since before there was an Eli. He’s looked through the books off and on a couple of times and has come up with a few gems that he likes to read. Curiously, the ones he’s picked out are some of the ones that were my favorites. In fact, I think he’s come up with three out of about my top five favorites.
Gus was a friendly ghost is one of them. It’s a kitschy 60s book with decent line drawings. Gus has a dashed outline that I’ve always itched to cut out. (I’ll have to ask Eli if he feels the same way.) My mom always groaned when I pulled Gus off the shelf. It’s amazingly long for a picture book. It takes 15-20 minutes to read and that’s why my mom hated it. It’s why I hate to see it come off the shelf as well. Often, if it’s late and we’ve had a long day I veto it because of its length.
Saturday night though, we read it and it was fabulous. When we opened it, Eli had to examine my five-year-old signature in the front of the book. Eli laughed at all the things in the story I thought was funny when I was a kid: “…on account of mice.” I cracked up the both of us reading it. We had a long discussion of what Tapioca is and why Mouse liked it so well. And when Gus gets mad at Mouse both of us were in the dumps as well.
The 20 minutes I spent reading that book was one of those times I live for as a parent. So thanks go to my mom for making me save those books all these years.