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Snuggle Bunny

“Snuggle Bunny” was the most difficult book I’ve ever read. Not as a child, but just this morning, to a table full of kindergartners. Five of them, sitting at their miniature table in their miniature chairs, with me kneeling on the carpet.

Being October 31st, it was costume parade day which cut into our reading time, but was well worth it if your cuteness reservoir was depleted, as was mine. We started without Spiderman, whose mother sent him to school in costume without his clothes underneath or in his backpack. The teacher’s aid was having none of it and was retrieving spare clothes from a plastic bin kept for such emergencies. Assessing some superhero Jockeys in her hand, she said “Are you wearing underwear? She didn’t send you Commando, did she?” I swear I’m not making that up. I cannot imagine under what other circumstances it would be appropriate to ask someone as to whether they were wearing underpants. After he’d changed, Spiderman joined us several pages in.

The children seemed as interested in “Snuggle Bunny” as my family is when I read them my creative nonfiction although I’ve never chided my family to “Pay attention, please.” Perhaps I should start. Or perhaps I should take the hint and stop.

I’m not experienced enough to know if I’d been assigned a table of ADHD kids, or if having the attention span of a gnat is normal for this age. I very much like being called “Mr. Joe”. You may all call me “Mr. Joe” if you please.

Heavily illustrated at twenty or so pages, and even after repeating yourself regularly, “Snuggle Bunny” zipped by. The children picked another few books for me. I’m determined to capture Layla’s attention so I asked her to spot the difference between the pictures in the spot the difference in the pictures book. She took the bait, pointed to a difference, and found pressing her finger to the page so hard that I had trouble removing it delightfully amusing. Her devilish smile is melting my heart. Damnit.

Reading time is over and the kids lined up to go outside. The teacher seemed to ask every other one if they must go to the bathroom before recess. A few accepted her offer. “One at a time!” she admonished. We’ve already been to the emergency clothing box today; we don’t want a revisit.

Sitting in my van in the parking lot, but before I turned the key, I realized I’ve been in injury car accidents that have left me less shaken than this cacophonic crew. I thought having employees was difficult. Ha. You can fire employees. I’m no quitter and I’ve got Advil in the glove box. The next time I’m called to fill in as a reading volunteer, I’m here kids. My patience is inexhaustible, and your attention span grows longer every day. You’ve not seen the last of Mr. Joe, believe me.

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