November 13, 2008

Beast Quest

My daughter had a bone to pick with me when she got off the school bus yesterday afternoon.
"You didn't give me any money for the Book Fair!" she shrieked.

I feigned surprise and apologized for my forgetfulness. In reality, there was no way that I was handing over ten hard-earned dollars to someone whose literary interests are limited to non age-appropriate chapter books with Michelle Tanner on the front covers. Every Wednesday, Camber's kindergarten class goes to the library, and every week my daughter brings home a different gem from the "Full House" easy reader series. Since my daughter can't read the books and refuses to let me read them to her, each book sits on the bookshelf in the family room until the following week, when "Michelle gets a puppy!" is exchanged for "Michelle goes out for the team!" and so on.




Taking the place of this week's trip to the library was a trip to the auditorium, where students were encouraged to pay for books that they normally could borrow for free. Discovering that the Full House Series has been out of print since 1998--and is thus unavailable for purchase--sent my daughter into a tizzy, or so it was reported to me by a friend who was working at the book fair. Learning that her horrible mother failed to set up a prepaid account with the Book Fair coordinators understandably sent my precious darling over the edge.

"I was the only person in my whole class who didn't have money!" she yelped.

I learned from my friend that this was a slight misrepresentation of the truth: only one child in the class brought money from home. The other 18 children whose parents don't love them were forced to join my daughter in the hideously awful task of making a "wish list."

Camber's list included a lot of good reads, but the one that piqued my interest the most was number 3: Beast Quest.


"Why did you pick this book?" I asked my daughter.

She responded by putting her fingers in her ears.

On her way to time-out, I gave her another chance to answer. She chose not to, but it didn't really matter because I already knew the answer: one finds comfort in the familiar.

18 comments

nancy b said...

This is a universal experience. My nephew wailed that, he too, would be the only one without money for the book fair. His father capitulated and forked over ten bucks. The little guy came home with three different Lamborghini posters. My own daughter bought a SpongeBob joke book and proceeded to read every single knee-slappin one to me out loud as I fixed dinner. I had THREE glasses of wine before dinner that night...

Rachel said...

Ceara always cons grandma out of money for the dreaded book fair, (which was held just this past Monday) as I refuse to give in. The ironic part is that her school holds the book fair IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LIBRARY!!!

Blog Buddy said...

Beast-Quest!! Cracked me up :D I'm glad I'm not the only one with kids who have an interesting taste in books. Way to stay strong Mean Mom!

Renny said...

hahaha, that's awesome. I prefer the scholastic book list they send home because then you can go through the pages together to find rare gems, that's how we got our Harry Potter books. Oh the joys of reading...

Amber said...

I loathe book fairs. They are terrible- especially now that I have three kids at our school, all thinking that they need video games, posters, and pens with strange caps. They, of course, don't want the books, unless it is a hardback for $23
Though I do have to say that the Beast Quest series is my third grader's favorite series, so far. He keeps reading them over and over, even though they are well below his reading level now- and my first grader loves them, too.

SHEILA said...

Ooh..my daughter's book fair is coming up however, for those horrible parents who don't want to fork over the cash for their kids to willy-nilly buy random books, they over a "Family Night at the Book Fair". THAT is always fun...about 100 people stuck in the middle of the library while 200 kids scream at their parents about the books they want while the parents hold up what we feel are more suitable. It ALWAYS ends well..not!!!

Karen said...

I just got home from the book fair. I have learned even the most responsible kid will come home with a kitten poster and mechanical pencils if just given money for the book fair. So now I go to school, pull them out of class and pick books, and only books, with them. And everyone but my bank account is happy!

Shaken Mama said...

I am now fascinated with this Beast Quest selection. Specifically, why is it $20? Does it come with an actual beast?

Janee said...

Is that Janet on the cover of the Full House book?

prdmommyof3 said...

I don't even remember how I found your blog, but you made me laugh so hard. You're a great writer...and have a beautiful family.

I hope you don't mind, but I'll be following your story!

-Melanie

imbeingheldhostage said...

OMGosh this was so funny! My husband somehow found your blog and told me I had to check it out (your header got him). I love your parenting style :-)

Gabrielle Turner said...

Book fairs... hmmm, another reason I'm glad we homeschool!
Actually, we have all the Beast Quest books. They are great little chapter books, perfect for beginning readers, especially boys.
They've GOT to beat Junie B., anyway.

Mia said...

Oh, this post was truly hysterical. I feel like you were there with us when this exact same story happened with us and Diva. Unfortunately, Dad has a soft spot and let the darling purchase the Full House collection at the next book fair - yep, she has learned the art of wraping men around her finger. We've also got a boat load of Junie B. Jones!

Jan Russell said...

I personally LOVE the book fair, but you spin an amusing tale explaining why you don't!

Anonymous said...

Having two older kids, and one eleven years younger than his closest sibling I have done two generations of book fairs. The oldest girls NEVER got money to take to the book fair. Now it is one of those "when I was young I was so deprived because....." so out of the sheer desire to avoid that I fork over the ten dollars and get a nice football poster or those great pens brought home to me. I encourage reading at every turn but so far I have not been able to figure out the literacy value of a poster. At least I now say books only. It is sad that there is so much peer pressure with these things and the schools support it....Honestly my older kids who are 22 and 24 and teachers themselves now still complain about their embarrassment at the book fair. If ten dollars will buy them self esteem or allow them to "fit in" it may be worth it. Perhaps it is like going to school with pants that are too short....

mommyofthree said...

Oh...that Full House book brings back memories. My sixth grader read those all through third grade. It about killed me. I mean, if you are smart enough to read three levels above your grade level, doesn't it seem like you'd be smart enough to leave anything with Stephanie or Michelle on the bookshelf? Apparently not.
Gratefully, she grew out of that.

New York City Mom said...

I just found your great blog, bc I was searching Scholastic after my Kindergartner came home from hers (and mine) first book fair today - where is the book in the fair?? I am appalled they sell this junk at a public school. And I'm such an idiot, I thought there would be some actual books there and I gave her TWENTY BUCKS! She came home with stickers and barbie junk. What a waste. Except for finding your blog :)

LawMom said...

Love your blog...but hate to say that I LOVE OUR ANNUAL BOOKFAIRS at school. I have chaired the Bookfair for the past two years. And I have learned many things...that all the "junk" that scholastic sends stays in the box...only if a parent sends a note stating the child can buy "junk" are they allowed to buy junk (however, we do put the junk out for family night). And all our volunteers are to gear the children to the appropriate level book. I'm happy to say that my son, now in 2nd grade, understands that when I give him $20.00 (yes, $20.00) to make his choices -- he chooses wisely and only selects books he can read or will work on becoming proficient reading. I don't always like his choice, i.e. Beast Quest...however, I do like the fact that his nose is HAPPILY stuck in the book and he often will research the fantasy creatures to write poems and stories on his own. I have no qualms about sending money with him because I know that I have raised him to make the right choices.