Last night I was reading stories to my daughter, Zoe, before bedtime. She chose the first book, If You Give a Pig A Pancake, one of her current favorites. Weary of reading the same six books over and over again for months, I suggested that maybe I could pick the second book. she happily agreed and I came back with Mike Mulligan And His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton. While I had probably read this book at least 100 times to Zoe's older brother when he was a little guy, I had never read it to her.
I began reading and she listened intently and studied the illustrations on each page. She felt bad for the steam shovels that were left "to rust and fall apart." She excitedly waited to see if Mike and Mary Anne could dig Popperville's cellar in just one day. She wondered how Mike could get out of the cellar as they built the town hall over him and Mary Anne. She proclaimed the book "Great!"
But the best part was when I read about Henry B. Swap. If you will recall, he was one of Popperville's selectmen who thought he could get part of the cellar dug for free by taking on Mike Mulligan's challenge that if he and Mary Anne could not dig the cellar in just one day, they would not get paid. When he thought about this, "he smiled in rather a mean way." When I read that sentence Zoe sat and thought for a few moments then looked up at me and said, "I don't have an evil smile because God doesn't want me to have one." So true, and wise beyond her years!