The art of art, the glory of expression, and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity. ~Walt Whitman


I asked Max the other day if anything good happened at school that day and he beamed.  He starting talking about a book that he read that made him laugh.  He asked if we could get a copy of it for home to read together.  I said “Sure!  What’s the name of the book?”

Max said that he didn’t know the name of the book but that there were rhymes in it.  So I asked him what the book was about.  He said that he couldn’t remember.  He said “the book is blue!”  And proceeded to beg me to buy him this blue book.

The look in his eye when he thought about how this book made him laugh was simply adorable. I wanted to get my hands on the book to get a glimpse into his little mind.

We were at the mall a couple of days later and he brought up the book again.  He asked if we could go to Barnes and Noble to find his blue book.  As we walked to the store, I asked him again if he could remember the name of the book.  He said no, but that it was blue.

One thing I know about this kid is that some things nudge into his mind and heart.  It is often a surprise which ones get there and this book was clearly one.  As adorable as his face is when he thinks of something that tickles him, watching him cry over something that he wants from the bottom of his heart is equally heartrending.  I am a total sucker for that child’s sadness because he tries to hold in his tears (he always has).  And while he doesn’t always hold it in, it is impossible to watch without wanting to fix whatever it is that is making him try to have a stiff upper lip.  I am certain he has used this to his advantage on many an occasion.  I am also certain that the times when I feel ok letting myself rescue him are fewer and farther between these days.  And it was a BOOK.

As we got closer to the bookstore, Grace asked him if he could remember anything about what was in the book.  He said quietly, “dust rats.”  Grace looked at me like her brother was off his rocker.  I told him that we’d ask the book store person to help us.  When we found her, I explained with a wink that we were looking for a blue book that had rhymes in it.  And I asked Max to tell her what it was about.  He was really shy to answer, but finally said again shyly “dust rats.”

The girl’s face lit up and she quickly said “Oh, I know that book.  It’s called the Rhyming Dust Bunnies.”  I wish I had a picture of the look on each of our faces.  Max was so relieved and tickled.  Grace was dumbfounded.  I was so relieved and tickled; I thought I would cry.


My little boy is still innocent enough that he doesn’t know a dust bunny from a dust rat.  Even after reading the book together, he still doesn’t; he asked me if we had dust bunnies in our neighborhood.   Grace was quick to explain to him that we have them in our HOUSE.

He is still innocent enough that he thinks if you want to find a blue book you can just go to the store and ask for the blue book.  And to my joy, his world view was upheld.

He is still innocent enough that he finds humor in this extremely simple book.  In so many ways he has moved into more complexity.  We have been reading Harry Potter and he has been obsessed with Beyblades and he wants to do multiplication and his two bottom baby teeth are gone.  I find extreme peace in the fact that a silly blue book about dust rats touches him.  And to his favor, it just reinforces my desire to protect his innocent little heart.