I suppose I was in the fifth grade when my mom bought me the Egermeier's Bible Story Book. It starts with the story of creation, and ends with Revelation, taking whatever stories from the Bible that might interest a child.
There had been other books I couldn't put down prior to this: Heidi, and several of the Bobbsey Twins books, for instance; but this one was HUGE, and I was fascinated with it.
At night I'd go upstairs to bed, taking a cup of milk and a box of ginger-snap cookies. I'd prop myself up on pillows, turn on the bedside lamp, and read until my eyes burned, then read some more, soaking cookies in the milk as I read. Mother finally resorted to removing the fuse for my room out of the fusebox, so I'd be in the dark and would have to go to sleep.
Sometime in the 1970's, Mother told me she still had that book and wondered if I wanted it. Well, of COURSE I did! But along the line, it disappeared without a trace.
Three or four years ago, when I discovered Ebay and Half.com, I found out there were plenty of the old Bible Story books around, and I purchased one. Once I received it and looked at the story titles, and some of my favorite old pictures, I stuck it in the bookshelf and forgot about it.
Until today. Natalie informed me that she is supposed to read to an adult for fifteen minutes every day. We had plenty of time, so I told her that would be fine. After breakfast she came to me with an armload of books, but they were mostly the "Spot" books and Little Golden Books. Those are great, but they're meant for babies. Natalie and Monica could both read them by the time they were three or four.
"Natalie," I said, "these won't help you; they're too easy. We need to find a book that will challenge you, and be a little bit hard. That way you'll be learning something."
"Oh," she answered, "you mean so when I'm thirty I won't be asking 'What does this word mean?'" (Natalie has a way of trying to explain any statement you make to her, to let you know she understands.)
That's when I thought of the Bible Story book.
So this morning, Nattie read the first chapter, the story of creation. She reads very well, but in a sort of monotone, unlike her sister, who almost plays every character's part when she reads.
When she finished the chapter, I asked her to tell me what she had read, to see if she comprehended. She told me the story in so much detail that by the third day of creation, I was begging her, "Stop! You understand it fine!"
She asked this evening to read a chapter to me, but I told her we'll do it in the mornings. I have to add ginger snaps to my grocery list now.