This post is a part of my “Board Book Beauty – Savoring the small as I read to my toddler” series. To see all of the posts in the series, go here.
I read Sandra Boynton often. Multiple times a day often. We have many of her books, and all of them are delightful, but But Not the Hippopotamus might be my favorite. (So, of course, I saved the best for last).
I read it with funny voices. When the moose and the goose together sip juice, I use a snooty accent and stick my nose up in the air. When the bear and the hare have been to the fair, I go more hickish. (Don’t ask me why. Fairs just seem like more of a country thing to me, I guess.) And at the end, when the hippopotamus finally decides to join the others, I shout with gusto and excitement: “But YES the hippopotamus!”
I don’t know why she’s an outsider until the last page. I suspect there’s some internal conflict, some insecurity or self-doubt holding her back. It doesn’t seem to be anything the other animals have done, for they come to her at the end and encourage her to be a part of the group – “Hey, come join the lot of us!” they cry. They’d have welcomed her company all along but she, for fear of rejection or fear of trying something new or fear of her own inadequacies, misses out until the very end.
All too often, I am the hippopotamus. (In a metaphorical sense. Not a literal one.) The one at the beginning of the book, not the end.
(You saw that one coming, didn’t you?)
I don’t join in when I should, because I am afraid. Because I am insecure. Because I let self-doubt and discouragement and my own inner critic hold me back.
Life is too short to let that happen. At the end of last month, I chose to say, “But YES the hippopotamus!” to posting every day in October, and, despite some days where I questioned the sanity of such a commitment, I’m so glad I did.
Here’s to saying YES (to the right things, of course) more often.
That wraps up Board Book Beauty, and the Write 31 Days challenge for 2016. Thank you for joining me on the journey – I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!
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