Oh the book fair. It used to be the way to get books when I was a kid.
Not that I ever got any. Books were more of a Christmas gift for me and I had a love affair with the library. I never remember wishing I had more access to books, and my family is generally more about supporting the library than piling up books you’ll never read again? The “only read it once” theory is a sound one – there are so many books out there in the world just waiting for you to discover them… why would you waste your time reading one twice?
Of course, Kafka was an exception.
Yesterday we went and thought we’d be the awesome parents who showed up for the book fair and helped our kids pick out some great books. I felt like an awesome “doing it for the children” mom and hubby felt like the nanny, because in situations like this he’s always stuck with the baby.
We get into the book fair room about ten seconds after my pre-K girl and she’s already hunting the shelves like she has the scent of pray in the woods. We say hello and she barely acknowledges us as she looks feverishly for a book in the allotted time she’s been given – which I think in her mind is not nearly enough.
She chooses a book that comes with a CD of some movie star reading the book. The lazy mom inside of me is thrilled that my child will have someone to read this book to her, because Polar Bear, Polar Bear, I just DON’T CARE is pretty much where I am with that series of books. But I want her to enjoy what she wants and I certainly don’t mind some actress reading to her. Win-Win.
The class files out and we ask the book fair ladies when my K’s class is coming in. Oh, they had book fair yesterday.
I broke the book fair.
My child will never read again.
I push the awful-mommy thoughts from my mind and at about the same time the awesome book fair lady says, “Why don’t we just go pull her from class for a few minutes.” I look at her, stunned, “I can do that?”
“Sure! Why not?” She says.
So we go pull my daughter out of her class, the teacher tells me that yesterday she almost cried but that she didn’t and I congratulated S and reminded her to always have faith in us – her parents – because we might make mistakes but we always work at fixing them. We explained we mixed up the days and now she had the book fair all to herself.
This is where the real story starts.
S is combing the shelves frantically looking for a very specific book. She’s over on the side of the room that’s for the readers and, in the interest of time, I’m trying to usher her gently back to the big, pretty picture books like Olivia and Pinkalicious and Fancy Nancy (is it just me or does she seem fabulously homeless?) and even Dora. But she practically howls at me, “No, mom, I know what I want…it’s over heeeere…”
And then she found it.
Two books shrink-wrapped together. With some kind of keychain on the front.
“That’s LIP GLOSS!” my daughter practically shrieks while clapping and jumping up and down. She has scored a find. Not just a book, no, two books – and with a bonus glitter lip gloss.
I start to hate Scholastic just a little for conning my daughter to buy these books based on lip gloss. I’ve already said they can have whatever book they want and can at least get behind the fact that this shrink wrapped package is $9.99 which makes the books very reasonable.
Then I notice the titles. Juicy Gossip and Rumor Has It. Ok, I can work with these – they’ll teach about stuff she’s going to need to learn pretty soon.
That’s when I see it.
A big sticker on the front of the book that says, “Impress Your Friends! Blah Blah Lip Gloss!”
So, just to be clear, thanks to Scholastic’s marketing plan or goodness knows what else:
My five-year-old daughter just bought two books on not being a gossip with free lip gloss attached in order to potentially impress her friends?
Thank you, book fair, for teaching lessons that I thought didn’t start until at least 4th grade.
Luckily she can’t read, so when she asked what it said, I told her, “It says you can only use the lip gloss on the bus and at home, you can never use it at school.” She looked at me and said, “Of course.” So at least I didn’t make the mistake of letting those awful words come out of my mouth to her via Scholastic.
But, whatever, they sold me age-inappropriate books so what do I know. On the other hand, could I possibly have predicted glitter lip gloss when I said, “You can have any book you want!” I think not.