July 3, 2009

Happy 4th!

I went to our local Barnes & Noble to find a book that explained America's birthday in terms a preschooler could understand and enjoy. Can you believe out of the dozen books on display, I didn't see one that fit the bill? Half the books were stories about parades and picnics. The other half read like history textbooks. Frustrated, I purchased one of the "parade and picnic" books and left the store.

That night I vented to my husband. Why couldn't I find a good history story? What's up with all these silly picnic stories for Independence Day? But as I thought more about it, an Erma Bombeck quote came to mind. Maybe all those silly picnic stories truly epitomize the spirit of Independence Day. Who cares if my four year old doesn't have a good grasp on the historical significance of the Declaration of Independence? Maybe it's more important that she associate the birth of our nation with good food, time with family, and fun outdoors: the stuff of a blessed childhood. As Erma once said:

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.
- Erma Bombeck

I also ended up very pleased with the picnic story I chose. McDuff Saves the Day by Rosemary Wells is one of the "McDuff books," stories about a little white terrier and the family that loves him. I wasn't familiar with these books, but I'm so glad I found them! They are simply adorable. McDuff Saves the Day tells how McDuff leads his family to a lonely man who can share his picnic with them after theirs is carried away by ants. The author does a great job capturing the banter between a young married couple with a baby (the baby cries the whole way home - love that!) and the artist makes McDuff so cute, I want to take him home myself.

We plan on spending tomorrow with my family, letting the Little Pages play on the beach with their cousins, aunts, and uncles. I hope you have a very happy 4th of July, full of picnics, potato salad, and patriotism!

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