When a monster shows up in your picture book

The monster appeared out of nowhere…

The “monster” is in the pages of book entitled Shrewbettina’s Birthday, part of the series of  “wordless” children’s books by John S.Goodall with vintage pages that flip like a movie theater. Two pages are full size,


while a half page flips up in the middle to keep the action moving, as if it’s really a flip book.

Back then, it was just the two of them, and we had never heard of a little boy who was so attached to trains he hoped to grow up to be an old man who loved them. And, could there be something wrong with a little boy who learned how to poach an egg before he learned to make cookies?

We were too busy devouring picture books, and I was so inexperienced, so new at this mothering thing, with only two boys; I was literally cutting my teeth on what it meant to be a mom, and to fall in love with little boys who would find a spot to live in my heart and stay there forever.  The two would dress up like the dynamic duo — in reverse, while Max ran around in the background.  The little one was always Batman, while the older one was always Robin. They would put mile markers into their lives by saying, “That happened two pairs of shoes ago.”

Now, their legs are so long. It’s important to look back, and peek into our simple world back then, and to remember, just exactly what filled up those legs to make them grow so tall, besides all that milk and cookies.

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