Sheba was in love with books from the start. I read to her almost every night until she was well into middle school. She helped me hone dramatic reading skills to the point that I really got into it.
When she was about four, I think, just before she began reading herself, I bought another big stack of storybooks for bedtime reading. I would read the title and tell her a little bit about each one, and she’d select the one she wanted to hear. Sometimes one would really catch her interest and we’d read it many nights over and over.
One of the books I selected was called Barry The Bravest Saint Bernard. I told her it was a true story about a dog that saved people. She turned it down every time I offered. I pressed her a couple of times, telling her it was a really good story, and it was true. Didn’t she want to read about it?
“No, not really. Maybe another time,” she would say, every night for weeks.
I finally gave up. It went on the shelf and was forgotten for years. Just a few years back, we were cleaning out all the children’s books. I asked the kids to pick the ones they wanted to save. I saw Barry The Bravest Saint Bernard and held it up to Sheba. I reminded her how I tried to get her to hear it and she would refuse.
“That’s what it’s called?” she exclaimed. “I thought you were trying to read a story about a dog who died saving people. You know: Bury The Bravest Saint Bernard. In a grave.”
“What?!” I laughed.
“Yeah, I didn’t want to hear a sad story, especially if it was true. I couldn’t figure why you wanted so badly to read it. Seemed kinda weird to me.”
We still laugh about that misunderstanding. Poor thing was trying to be so nice about it while her ghoulish mother wanted to read this "awful" story.
She kept the book.