Where would children's literature be without The Lady from Philadelphia, I ask you. I can still hear my mother's voice reading those delightful stories. As you point out, the Peterkins were the Stupids of the 19th century. I'm having a reaction that hits from time to time with this blog: how did we get this far without ever mentioning The Peterkin Papers?
Today I have a great anecdote, from the world of Book-Loving Parents Who Pass It On to a New Generation.
A mom comes in to the store earlier this week, and we discuss books for her 5th grade daughter and her 2nd grade son. They both are very much in the book zone, loving reading and being read to.
So the mother tells me that the other night, she was reading a bedtime book to her daughter, both of them lying together on the girl's bed. The inevitable happened: they both fell asleep. Meanwhile, the dad, downstairs watching TV, also falls asleep. Around midnight, Dad is the first parent to wake up. He goes upstairs, locates the spouse in the daughter's room, and they both head to bed. On the way, they notice a light coming from the younger brother's room. They discover a very happy boy sitting up in bed surrounded by many of his favorite books, reading voraciously. At some point during the evening, he had discovered that he was the only awake family member, and decided to take full advantage of the opportunity. And when his up-way-past-bedtime status was discovered, he proudly showed his parents every book he'd read that evening. I expressed surprise that he hadn't fallen asleep by that hour. No, said his mom, he was so happy and wired he couldn't possibly have slept. She loved it.
One suspects that evening will go into their family lore, dusted off occasionally for a family reunion, a high school graduation, or the first time he reads Moby Dick.