So when we decided to have a child we knew that reading would be a big part of that child's world. Even when my little sweet Beatrice was still in Mama A's belly, she was reading and talking to Bea (didn't know she was a Bea during the entire pregnancy) and I read and talked to her as well.
Now that she's almost six months, we've found that one of her favorite books is Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth and illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith.
And now that I've read it at least a few hundred times to her while she sits on my lap spellbound in ladybug land, little hands caressing each page and ladybug bump, I've realized that this little book is quite the suspenseful thriller with a hopeful twist.
Think about it for a moment:
TEN little ladybugs sitting on a vine, along came a butterfly – then there were…
And then there nine. Dear God, what happened to the lady bug. What did the butterfly do?
Reading on, the story becomes even more horrific, ladybugs disappear left and right, innocent animals vanish at the hands of other species. Bea bounces on my lap, arms flail, eyes wide, mouth a giant "O".
SIX little ladybugs flying near a hive, along came a bumblebee – then there were…
This one stuns me. It's my daughter's namesake (kind of) stealing away the sixth ladybug. Will the madness ever cease? Will there be a ransom note? Where are the police? Bea's drool leaves her chin, striking me on the hand. I jump!
ONE little ladybug sitting all along, along came a breeze – then she was…
What's with these random acts of violence from these dark creatures of the meadowland netherworld? Butterfly, caterpillar, bird, grasshopper, bumblebee, fish, turtle, duck, frog – and my God, even the breeze joins in on the unforgiving crime spree!
Where are the ladybugs!
Then she was…home. Home. All the animals are there, smiling, and all 10 little ladybugs are happy and safe. These were random acts of kindness from complete strangers. A community helping its neighbors. A village raising its young.
That's the kind of world I want my daughter to grow up in. Reading should foster dreams of hope.
What we do when we grow up is ours to make – a hopeful mindful living and personal responsibility reality.