It was totally amazing to see how much Baby Zach has grown in 6 months. I was reminded of what astounded me after Catie’s birth–there will never be another year one grows as much. A smiley baby, Zach is an expert at noise-making and pretty successful at spitting. Sharing books with him, I quickly remembered the importance of board books’ sturdiness. He’s developing what I used to call “good taste in books.” I had to read pages fast, then wrestle them out of his mighty grip before they reached his mouth. He’s definitely an active little guy.
From afar, I’d guessed Catie was ready for longer books so the first day I shared Maripat Perkins’ Rodeo Red, a rollicking sibling story told in a Western voice. Rodeo Red (the older sister) takes on Sideswiping Slim (the new baby) who’s “as slippery as a snake’s belly in a mudslide.” Even with all Slim’s hollering “the Sheriff and her Deputy” don’t tell him to skedaddle because they’re smitten. Things get worse when the maturing scallywag “talked nothing but gibberish” and “moseyed back into my ranch like he owned the place.”
Catie is definitely growing into stories with more plot, but the strong voice in this book and the many similes added a complexity that required some explaining. Molly Idle’s illustrations were great for showing meaning. Catie easily identified the “Sheriff and her Deputy” and after I showed Catie how Red used play fences to define ranches, she saw the pictured humor of Red surrounding Slim with them.
Catie adores Zach so the sibling issues part of the book needed explaining as well. Catie’s quick to hug and kiss Zach and patient when he has a death grip on hunk of her hair. In this story the baby takes over Rodeo Red’s favorite love toy. We talked about the preciousness of her “Puppy Ghostie” and I wondered if Zach had a favorite toy yet, and then spoke about her willingness to share Puppy Ghostie. Catie did remember an occasion when Zach “moseyed” into her territory and broke a snow globe she’d gotten for Christmas. I had forgotten how much fun it is to build context with conversations and how puzzling out a book that’s a wee bit too complicated can lead in all kinds of fascinating directions.