Early Reading Habits
My younger brother has gone to bed; my mother is sitting by the fire sewing. My father is sat opposite her in a large armchair with me on his lap, leaning against his scratchy woollen sweater, my head tucked under his chin and my thumb in my mouth. He is holding a small buff-coloured book from which he is about to read.
I can see the pictures on the open page; the vegetable patch with the rows of lettuces, a spade stuck in the ground and the back of Mr McGregor leaning on it. Peter is hiding under a large leaf, his inquisitive face looking towards the burly gardener. I can almost see Peter’s nose twitching. I point at the pictures, identifying the objects in it.
Then my father begins, ‘Lettuces are soporific.’
So began my interest in books. Today I picked up my battered copies of Beatrix Potter’s books with the intention of throwing them away. They are so distressed, the spines missing or torn, pages stuck in with ageing sellotape; they are not fit to pass onto another child. But I couldn’t put them with the rubbish, they are too precious, so I have put them back on the shelf.