The Read Balloon: The Imagination Library and The Little Engine That Could

great kids' books A little while ago a friend said to me the most beautiful words in the English language: “I know a way to get free books mailed to you every month.” And would you believe it? It’s because of Dolly Parton.

Parton started The Imagination Library  as a way to boost early childhood literacy in her home county in Tennessee, and it has since spread to communities across the country. If your community participates in the program, that means you can sign up to have a free book mailed to your kid every month until he is five! What! And…drumroll…New York City has just joined up. Huzzah!

I do feel an eensy bit guilty taking free books when my kids are obviously not underexposed to wordish things. But at the same time, f you New York, for being so expensive. You at least should give my kids some books. So, isn’t that exciting? Sign up!

Anyway, the first book every participant receives is The Little Engine That Could, which we just got and have been loving. The cheery, bright illustrations give me that special zing of nostalgia that indicates I spent a lot of time staring at them as a child. And who can dislike this adorable story, with its faultless message of hard work and believing in yourself? Harper especially likes the grouchy, mean trains who won’t help. Huh.

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I love being reacquainted with this book, and I can’t wait to see what Dolly sends us next month! What an unexpected gift. From such an unexpected source.

In the immortal words of David Brent: "'If you want the rainbow you've got to put up with the rain.' Do you know which 'philosopher' said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she's just a big pair of t**s."

4 responses to “The Read Balloon: The Imagination Library and The Little Engine That Could

  1. Bummer, I can’t get free books for Amaranth. Tear.

  2. Whazup with dat? Us Minnesotans probably need it more than any other state in the nation. I’ll have to call Dolly myself and hook us up…She’s my identical twin, ya know…

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