Friday, January 19, 2007

Who's worried?

Months ago I came across a trio of Kevin Henkes books, remaindered, cheap. I couldn't decide between them, so I bought them all. Helena was a big fan of Kitten's First Full Moon so I thought she might like Henkes at the next reading level. I worried that she might not, that it might've been smarter to try one out before committing to all 3, but then rationalized that if it came to that, I could easily find them a happy home.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse I was certain would be a hit (and this eventually proved to be true).

I worried a little about Lilly's Big Day — how to explain the concept of flower girl, of wedding, of marriage (none of which J-F and I ever have had or will have, excepting, of course, our marriage of minds and goals to build a life together, blah, blah, blah). Helena hasn't questioned these yet, either as pertains to the story or to our life.

I worried mostly about Wemberly Worried. Because, you see, Wemberly worries a lot, about everything, and Helena doesn't seem to worry about anything at all. I worried that the book might instill worry rather than assuage it.

I worried about when to give her the book. When I bought it, Halloween was just around the corner, and Wemberly worries about her costume being just right, about there being too many butterflies, about being the only butterfly. I was worried enough about Helena liking her costume, and that she might actually care what other people think. I worried for nothing, it turns out, but I thought it better to hold the book for her birthday.

But Wemberly worries about her birthday too, that no one would come to her party, that there wouldn't be enough cake.

So finally Helena received all 3 books for Christmas. It doesn't surprise me that Helena prefers Lilly over Wemberly, and pores over Wemberly's illustrations hoping to catch a glimpse of Lilly (she's there). She finds humour in Wemberly's situations, but seems a bit puzzled by her worried condition.

I ask Helena if she ever worries, what she worries about. She sighs deeply. "Yes. I worry about my dolls. And my stickers."

I don't mean to undervalue the worries of Helena's big little life. Worry for her dolls to means motherly worry, her loving, doting care of them, that they're fed, washed, dressed, blanketed. But her stickers? We don't use stickers for rewards here; they're just plain fun.

Now I worry about putting words in her mouth, but she needs prompting. "Do you worry about losing them?" "Yes. I worry about losing my stickers." I suppose this to mean they must be accounted for, affixed as she finds fit.

No worries.


Suzanne said...

How sweet -- I know what you mean about not wanting to minimize our kids' concerns, even though they seem so small to us.

My kids love the Lilly books; they got the Purple Plastic Purse one for Christmas, and just the other day selected Julius (another Lilly book) and Jessica. I worried a little about reading Julius because Lilly's reactions to her new baby brother are anything but kind. However, the kids seem none the worse for reading about older sister jealousy!

rachel said...

I think worrying is a temperamental trait, and if she doesn't have it, she isn't going to acquire it (well, unless she lives through some truly difficult circumstances, maybe). My guess -- not that I know, mind you -- is that she's not worried about her stickers in the least. They're just the first thing that popped into her head. She'd trying out worrying, but it doesn't mean a whole lot to her yet.

Carl V. said...

When my daughter was young some of her favorite books were Kevin Henkes books. Actually I loved them as well. They are wonderfully illustrated and written stories. Clever and fun.

raehan said...


I really enjoy the Henke books, especially Wemberly worried. It's fun to read. We have a few: Wemberly Worried, Shelia Rae, the Brave, A Weekend with Wendell, Chrysantemum. They are all fun.

Of these four, I think Sheila Rae, the Brave is my favorite.

I worried about the impact of Wemberly's worrying, too, last year.

As Wemberly's grandmother would say, "Too much worry."

Pearl said...

I was tempted by that purple purse book myself.

Did you see the subway rat book? It's all clay and physical objects (like feathers or wrappers). Cute and beautiful.