Old vs New

My oldest son and his momma went to a birthday party the other night, which meant his little brother and I were free to have our own adventure.

We chose Paranorman at the Cinema Grill, because cartoon zombies and pizza and popcorn and root beer on a hot Florida evening just seemed too good to pass up.

Unfortunately, it had some really scary images. Even worse, it had some scary concepts (the back story is that a little girl was killed for being suspected of being a witch).

My son was fine during the movie, but once we got home, I realized that there was no way he’d ever be able to get to sleep. I sent him to get into bed while I dug out a book, and then I sat down next ┬áto his bed.

“You know what this book is?” I asked, holding it up.


“It’s called The Big Red Book.”

He grinned, clearly not believing me. As far as I know, though, that’s actually what it’s called. It’s a big red hardback book with no title on its cover. It’s filled with poems and stories for kids. “It’s what grampa used to read at night to my sisters and brother and me.”

He leaned over my shoulder to look. “Really?”

I opened the book and flipped through the pages. It has thick pages that smell of wood and wonder, pages that are filled with easy to read text and old-fashioned illustrations. “Here’s one,” I read. “It’s called ‘Halfway Down’, and it’s by A. A. Milne.”

“Didn’t he write Winnie the Pooh?”

“Yep. Halfway down the stairs,” I read, “is a stair where I sit.

He rested his chin on my shoulder as I read, and chuckled when I reached the end. I flipped over to read The Engineer, also by A. A. Milne, then just picked stories at random.

Have you ever heard of the Sugarplum Tree?
Animal crackers, and cocoa to drink, that is the finest of suppers, I think,
Mud is very nice to feel, All squishy-squash between the toes!

And finally, as a drowsy boy snoozed on my shoulder,

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod one night sailed off in a wooden shoe,

I tucked him into bed and let myself out, the Big Red Book carefully held under my arm.

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