The neighbor kids are on vacation this week, and I missed having them here to read with me. The feeling of a warm head tucked under my arm and small hands grasping my hands or resting on my leg as giggles erupt from them is treasured. What I love most, though, is their understanding of what we read.
They adore Chico Bon Bon, the crafty monkey with an incredible tool belt in Chris Monroe's Monkey With a Tool Belt. We read one of the books about him each week. Each time, they express frustration that, after he is trapped in a box by the evil organ grinder (lured in by a fake banana split), Chico Bon Bon does not just get out of the box. The kids can plainly see him in there. Why doesn't he just walk out? they ask. I try to explain our omniscient perspective as readers, that we can see in the box as if the side were cut away, but it is not. And each week, they ask again, not able to grasp the idea from the last reading.
What they do remember each week is the hysterical scenario in Monkey With a Tool Belt and the Noisy Problem in which Chico Bon Bon is trying to discover the cause of a loud noise. We all make the onomatopoeic noises and laugh uproariously when an elephant named Clark is found to be stuck in the laundry chute. Since then, we have used flashlights and stuffed animals in our own laundry chute (minus the banana peels Chico Bon Bon used to slide Clark from his laundry chute), trekking up and down the steps and giggling as the animals drop into waiting arms.