Last year I discovered that the best books for P aren’t kiddie books, but reference books. (And not dumbed-down kiddie reference books, either.) I can’t tell you how much time we’ve spent crouched on the floor at Powell’s looking at the dinosaur and volcano books.
No, she’s not reading the encyclopedia (she’s not reading, period). But books with plates and pictures, particularly of animals, are fast favorites. A friend gave her a pocket “field” guide to prehistoric creatures that she will pour over (“field” is a bit misleading). What’s more, she has identified some of the fish species in Dinotopia and her Prehistoric Sea Monsters DVDs based on the guide.
Another proud parenting moment? When she ran over to the Audubon bird guide and picked out mallards after we returned home after spotting them in a local park. (All by herself.) Seriously, the reference geek in me swooned: she picked out the right book, located the ducks, and matched them to her memory. It’s been months, and I still can’t get over how awesome that was. (Now we keep a pocket guide to Portland birds in my purse at all times!)
Bird Songs from Around the World is one of the best books I’ve ever purchased — nominally for P, but also for the grown-ups. (I briefly mentioned it before.) Her passion for dinosaurs has extended into a passion for birds, eggs, and nests, and this book – which has lovely plates of birds, but also will play clips of their songs – is a treasure. The best part about having a curious kid is getting sucked into her passions and learning right along with her. (Even when that means she’s correcting me: which is a double swoon, right there.)
For a while, I was concerned that my interests in her interests was evidence of enmeshing, but screw that. I may be pushing 40, but I still love learning new things (and M is pushing 50, and so does he). I’m as madly curious about the world now as I was when I was four, and I don’t plan on stopping soon. What’s new and cool is that because of her interests, we’re getting pushed in different directions.