Register Friday | December 6 | 2019

Summer Reading Club

Book Reports

One of the nice things about my menial job at the library is the summer reading club. This is where - you probably did this when you were little - kids come in and report on books they've read, and we reward them with a sticker. There are nine stickers in all, and the kids go nuts for them. There's this kind of religious awe that builds up around the stickers, this mystique because you can only get them at the library, you can't buy them in the store, and you have to earn them.

So at the beginning of the summer, there's always a huge run on, fifty kids lining up at the door to report on their books and get their stickers, and it's just a beautiful scene: the five-year-old girl solemnly, patiently explaining why she liked her book about bunnies to me while her mom peeks around the edge of the door, grinning her face off with pride. That kind of thing.

But by this time of year, the bloom is off the rose. Most of the kids have earned their nine stickers, and moved on to other things: video games in the computer area, or wriggling around in the wading pool outside. Except for two of them, the baddest-ass seven-year-olds in the neighbourhood, both middle children from big families who gobble up adult attention like pop-rocks.

You're not supposed to have favourites, I know this. But I do, I totally do: when one kid introduces himself to you as The World's Most Ultimate Prankster, and the other baldfacedly fabricates her way through an entire summer's worth of book reports, what are you supposed to do? Not like them better than everybody else?

Me: Do you want to report on your book?

Thamby: Ask me all the questions.

Me: You only get one sticker.

Thamby: Ask me all of them anyway.

Me: [I ask him all the questions, one after another. After every one, he slaps his forehead...]

Thamby: That's EASY! [...and responds in rapid-fire paragraphs].

Me: Okay, that was the last question.

Thamby: Okay. Can I have nine stickers now, please?

Me: Ha ha.

Thamby: You PROMISED!

Me: Ha ha ha.

Thamby: [runs away with roll of stickers, gets yelled at by the security guard]

Me: Ha ha ha ha.

***

Me: Do you want to report on your book?

Layla (slapping down a tattered copy of Green Eggs and Ham): It's about a guy...who invents an airplane. And...it can go under the ocean.

Me: Green Eggs and Ham?

Layla (dreamily): And he meets a giant squid, and then he breaks its arm. But then the squid's...mother...says you have to go to the hospital. And you don't get to go to Canada's Wonderland again. (sighs and rolls her eyes dramatically)

Me: Okay. Take a sticker.

***

I would suck as a teacher.