My three year old, Jesse Bear, has always loved books. Once he finds a book he enjoys, he wants me (or anyone willing) to read it to him over and over again. Some of his favorites have included: Jesse Bear, Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?, Dear Zoo, Baby Danced the Polka, and Goodnight Gorilla. His latest find is an old classic called The Fire Engine Book (a Little Golden Book Classic).
I find it interesting that he enjoys this book so much because the illustrations depict fire engines and fire fighting gear used in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. He has noticed that these fire engines look different and has asked why. I explained that this book was written a long time ago and that is how fire engines looked then. He has also noticed that the protective gear is different. I appreciate that he notices these differences. It has been a great opportunity to discuss how things change over time.
My book conversations with Jesse usually consist of him asking me LOTS of questions. I don’t mind though because I am impressed with the depth of his thoughts and questions. It is obvious that he really listens when I read and that he studies the illustrations.
Here is my conversation with Jesse about The Fire Engine Book.
Me: (Just after reading the book for the second time in a row) Show me your favorite page.
Jesse: (As he is flipping through the book and looking at the illustrations) This one. No, I mean this one. No, all the pages because they are fun to look at.
Jesse: (As he points to a firefighter on the back of a fire truck without his gear on) Mommy, why doesn’t he have his suit on.
Me: I think he was trying to hurry and get on the truck.
Jesse: But, he has to have it.
Me: Yes, he will put it on when he gets to the fire.
Jesse: Oh, ok. What is that fire chief doing?
Me: He is giving instructions to the firefighters.
Jesse: What is he telling them to do?
Me: Well, he is probably telling that guy to get the ladder, that guy to grab an axe, and that guy to hook up the hose (just made this up based on pictures).
Jesse: Why does he tell them what to do?
Me: Because a fire chief is the boss of the fire fighters. Would you like to be a fire chief or fire fighter when you grow up?
Jesse: No, Mommy. I am scared of really loud noises. I just like fire fighter books and toy (fire) trucks.
Me: Oh, yeah. The sirens are really loud. Look at this page.
Jesse: Hey, why does that guy have dirt all over his face?
Me: Because fighting fires is a dirty job. Fires make a lot of smoke and ashes.
Jesse: Oh, yeah. Well, why are they catching that man with a net?
Me: So, when he jumps out of the window he won’t hit the ground and get hurt.
Jesse: And why is the window not covered?
Me: Probably, because the fire blew it out and now there is no glass in the window. It is just all open.
Jesse: Our house is all covered up Mommy.
Me: Yes, we have glass on all the windows.
Jesse: And doors, too! Now can I ride my scooter?