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.