Monday, March 19, 2012

A Hippie and The Swashbuckle Chuckle

    When the Hippie's teacher announced that any second grader who could read 100 books this year would get a prize, the Hippie marked it on her calender.  
    She has this crazy calender with EVERYTHING written on it. 
5:59 . . . wake up.   
6:15 . . . really wake up.  
6:30 . . . eat.  
 7:00 . . . brush teeth.  
7:30 . . . read.  
    The Hippie is on a rigid self-imposed schedule and she even figured how much to read each day to attain her 100 book goal.  Now, at the age of seven I hardly even knew what time it was, let alone when exactly I should do certain things.  She must get this from Cade.
    Anyway, every day since the first of the year, I've heard about her reading progress.  
"I read two chapters."  
"I've read five books!"  
    For every chapter book she read, she had to take a test at school.  Soon, I heard how the tests were going and how close she was to her goal.  At dinner she read instead of ate.  At night she stayed up reading--WHEN SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ASLEEP.  There were piles of books in the bathroom and the kitchen.  I couldn't get away from her goal!
    Well, this March, the time finally came when she went to school and I knew she was almost done with her final book.  I couldn't wait to see her face when she came out of school and told me about it.
    But I was in for a surprise.  When the Hippie trudged from school that day, she said in a monotone, "I read 100 books."
    "And that's great, Honey!"
    "Yeah." She frowned.  "Would you like to know what they gave me for a prize?"
    I know it's terrible and I shouldn't have felt a giggle coming on.  The point was I KNEW it would be funny and I couldn't imagine what she'd gotten.
    "I read 100 books. . . .  Hours of my life are gone," she took a deep breath, "for a cheap . . . off-brand . . . soda."  She took a sip of it.  "I don't even like it."  When we got home, she set the soda on the counter and started walking away.
    "Oh, Hon.  You should try to get your mind off of it.  Ummm . . . reading always makes you happy.  Do you want to read something?"
    "Seriously?  Really?  Mom . . . I hate reading now.  If school has taught me anything, it's that reading does not pay off."
    Her eyes were so big--so darling.  I would make it up to her somehow.  I just couldn't believe that's all they gave her.
    So, I told a few people what happened.  One amazing woman--Dee--sent the Hippie five dollars in ones.  A genius AND a sweetheart--Janie's daughter--sent the Hippie a piggie bank from France!  Fishducky sent the Hippie and the Scribe their names in stained glass!
She's sooooo talented!

    I was amazed by this generosity and so was the Hippie.  "Hon, this is amazing!" I said.  "Everyone loves you and is so proud."
    "I know."  She leaned back into the couch and sighed with contentment.  "And to think . . . I've never been so happy about just getting a soda in all of my life.  Those people made everything worth it!"

    I laughed and then turned on my iPad.  That same night, we got a new book from Pat Hatt.  "You wanna read?"
    "Absolutely not," she said, sitting up--healing from the wound only a soda can deliver!
    "But it's by Pat Hatt."
    "Really?!  Well, maybe I'll listen, but only if it's Pat Hatt."
    The point is, we've read two of Pat's novels and the girls LOVE them.
    As I started the eBook, the Hippie's smile spread.  She slowly leaned closer.  It was so darling--SO WITTY--the kids made me read it to them five times!
    "I want this on my bookshelf," the Hippie said.  "Can you get a copy in the mail?"
    "Sure . . . but wait, you said you hate reading. . . ."
    "Well, maybe I'll bend the rules this once.  If every book was like this, then I might consider reading again."
    "Consider it, huh?  Maybe even read another hundred books?" I asked.
    She just looked at me.  "That depends, if those sweet people keep believing in me, then maybe I will.  They made it worth it."
    That night, she asked if she could borrow the iPad before going to bed.  When it was a little past the time to go to sleep, a light shone under her door and when I came in, the Hippie had fallen asleep, reading "The Swashbuckle Chuckle" for the millionth time.  I had to laugh because she'd gone to sleep AFTER the time allotted on her calender--that was practically a sin as far as she thinks.  
    So, maybe she won't read 100 books in a year again, but I'm willing to bet, she might read the same book 100 times.
    It's neat how an amazing book can restore a kid's love of reading.

For more info about "The Swashbuckle Chuckle," please click on this picture:


The Swashbuckle Chuckle

For more info about Pat Hatt, the author, please click HERE.

P. S. Don't forget that my big book launch for "The Sword of Senack" is tomorrow. If you'd like to write something about it, please let me know and I'll include a link to your post on my blog tomorrow.


  1. A friend of mine refers to off-brand sodas as "ghetto soda". No idea why, but I have to chuckle whenever I think of that phrase.

    Anyway, awesome for the Hippie! I wish I could get me oldest to read 100 pages in a year, much less books. She just needs to remember that whenever anyone at school says "if you do XX you get a prize." if they don't say what the prize is upfront then that means it will suck.

    On an unrelated note, you might want to discuss a new nickname with her. Keeping such an organized calendar is such an un-hippieish thing to do. :)

  2. A can of soda? That's BS. We had this thing when I was a kid, for every 5 books you read, you got a certificate to get a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. I ate a lot of pizza.

  3. haha that is great she got all the support, deserved more than a crummy can of soda anyway. And I thought my scheduling was bad, she has me beat big time..hahahaha

    Thanks for the plug, it was wonderfully done. The kids enjoyed and that's all the matters, sorry for making her stay up past her schedule though..hahaha...and two books? you finished the other one? Geez that was fast. A book form one should come due soon too, hopefully.

  4. I love your kids. I hope, that when I have kids, they are this level of awesome.

  5. Congratulations to The Hippy. Her love of reading will come back. Too bad the school dropped the ball, or soda.

  6. Tell The Hippie that reading is one of the best gifts a person can give to herself. With books, you can (virtually) be anything, go anywhere & do anything. Tell her that if she reads one more book, I'll send her a whole case of her favorite soda!! (I mean it!)

  7. Dear Elisa,
    I'm so glad that the Hippie has a piggie bank to put her five one-dollar bills in! And I bet that she's going to read a jillion books before she gets to be my age. She's a reader for sure. And the Scribe is an actor! Peace.

  8. I read Pat's book and LOVED it!! It's so good!! I'm glad that your children enjoyed it as well :)

    and as far as her goal goes, a can of soda? Really? They must not have really expected anyone to do that!

    P.S. You're daughter and I keep a very similar calendar. hahaha

  9. Can't believe they gave her something as rubbish (and unhealthy) as a soda!! What were they thinking?! But how lovely that she has had her faith in reading restored. Amazing she read 100 books in a year though - how fab!

    1. This is one of my favorite posts of yours that I've read, and that's sayin' something. Yay for 100 books read and BOO to soda as a suitable prize!

  10. That is a terrible prize! They should have given out stuffed animals or something. Sheesh! Anyway, I love the way your daughter is organized. Wow, I would have been so impressed if my daughters were like that at 7 or even 15. She sounds like a mini-genius. A very sweet one.

    How kind of readers to send gifts to Hippie and she could enjoy those instead of the soda.

  11. Just wait until she is a teen-ager.....shivers....

  12. I'm an aging hippie. At one time, though, I lived by a fairly strict schedule. We are all mysteries and paradoxes. I suspect they didn't believe a seven-year-old would read that many books, but somebody should have figured out it was going to happen by the time Sky got to #90. How perfect that Dee sent money that could go in the Eiffel Tower piggie bank. I have fallen in love with your children. Even The Hurricane says Sky has melted her cold heart, and that is an amazing feat.


  13. I can't believe she got soda. But it's great that she received the support she needed.

  14. Well I'm super proud of her and would like to teach that school about giving prizes.. Obviously 100 books is worth more than a soda! Even a name brand one!

  15. Good for the Hippie. I was a big reader, AKA nerd when I was growing up. I actually took encyclopedias to bed to read. Looking back now that probably explains a lot...

    BTW- when in God's name do you find the time to write? I can barely keep my teeth brushed these days.

  16. When I read that about the can of soda I was disappointed too. So glad she got rewarded with stuff that made her happy. That was a good story.

  17. Congrats Hippie! What an accomplishment! As much as I read when I was her age, I don't think I would have reached 100 books in the same amount of time.

    A can of off-brand soda - that's it? No wonder she felt that she wasted time! The county library system up here does a summer reading challenge and usually has some neat prizes for kids who participate and reach certain levels. One summer my cousin participated (I think she was about Hippie's age at the time) and her final prize was her choice. She chose an art set. Glad that Hippie still got some cool prizes. And yes, Fishducky is an AWESOME talent! :)

  18. A lot of hugs to Hippie from me. I do agree with her though, as generous as every one is, the school should have given her at least a ribbon. Later in life she will realize how handy reading is anyway.

  19. What a totally totally crappy crappy prize!! Absolutely the lamest of lame prizes!! But--big congrats to the Hippie for reading 100 books! That is so awesome she got some prizes anyways! Reading is something special that she'll have all her life. You did good, girl! ;)

  20. Reminds me of one of those pizza eating contests that I entered in undergrad--scaring me from pizza for some time.

    Congrats to Hippy and I hope the school's lack of good thought does not jade her. They should always announce the prize before.

  21. I am hosting a Giveaway for beginning chapter book for ages 7-10.

    I would love it if you could drop by and participate:

  22. wow! that is impressive! i am so behind in my reading. i've got a stack of books waiting. not too mention all the blogs i'm behind on. maybe she can read them for me and give me a quick synopsis on each? LOL!

    and really nice for everyone to send her all that stuff as well...

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