Librarians all over the country are going to cringe from what I’m about to reveal. You can use books for something other than reading. Gaassspp. Settle down, I’m not talking about fuel for the campfire. Gosh, that wouldn’t take any imagination at all, would it? No – I’m talking about, among other things, book towers.
It began with #1 (and only) grandson when he was about three. I've always believed in stimulating children's curiosity by engaging with them in activities that both delight and thrill. When they’re three it doesn’t take much. So there we were, in the living room, with a bunch of books around us. Largish hard cover kids books and some smaller board books like Sandra Boynton’s “Barnyard Dance”. I picked one up, spread the pages, and stood it on the floor. Picked up another and put it crossways on top of the first. Before you know it a tower was growing and Sam was enthralled. He handed me more books. Now the tower was bigger than him. One more book for the top, “Barnyard Dance”, and . . . CRASH! (Okay, librarians rent your clothes).
Well, how exciting was that? “Do it again, Gramma!” And so we did. And the tradition continued with all the grand kids as it did last night in our small attic room where I’ve cobbled together a playroom for them. Here’s a visual.
One of the tallest ever made and Melodi had to use a chair to place the last book. She giggled, “I’m scared.” No, she was delighted. “What if it falls on me?”
“It won’t fall,” I said, hoping I wasn’t lying. It didn’t. And she felt like an Olympian for placing that book just so and having it balance on top. I cheered and her face split in a grin as did her little sister’s.
After we basked in the glory of successfully building such a masterpiece, we gently dismantled it. No book was harmed in this endeavor and, as a kind of bonus, it was all gluten free.
One day, when they’re all over twenty one, I’ll tell these grand kids a few true stories of thrilling and devilish child’s play. Like when I was a kid and we made rubber band guns. We’d find a straight stick, sneak one of Mom’s clothespins, get a few rubber bands (from the newspapers thrown onto the lawn) and assembled the weapon. A notch on one end and the clothespin on the other, held securely by one of the bands. The second rubber band was loaded, securing it at the notch, pulling it back and clamping it into the jaw of the clothespin. If you were lucky this second band was a nice wide one. That would be your RB54 (Rubber Band 1954) and conferred great status. Then it was time to go hunting for victims – probably the sibling who’d most recently offended you in some way. Wedgies come to mind.
This was also a gluten free enterprise as was the beating you got from the parent to whom the sibling ratted you out. OR – the sibling made his / her own rubber band gun and then there was a real bloodbath. Boy, those were the good old days, huh?
So, you see librarians, book towers aren’t so bad. Correctly built, they rarely fall. And on the bright side, there’s legislation pending to rid the world of the evil (but exciting) Rubber Band Gun, most especially the RB54. I can’t decide whether to organize a protest or not.
PS: If you’d like other ideas for using books creatively, such as race car tracks, forts, or train tunnels, drop me a line. I never seem to run out of ideas.