Anthony in the Big Backyard

Anthony in the Big Backyard

Stepping out into the yard. Anthony has figured out how to climb down the back step.

Yesterday and today we had amazing spring-like weather. The kids spent hours playing outside. Oh what a relief!

Even though this hasn’t been a very snowy winter, it still hasn’t been balmy enough to let Anthony crawl around on the icy cold ground. The outdoors has taken on the allure of the forbidden garden. Every time the front door opens, Anthony makes a bee line for the door, dreaming of prison break. He’s even figured out how to climb down the front step and has toddled across the driveway in his bare feet on the freezing pavement, not seeming to notice the cold in his joy at being free.

So his bliss was indescribable when I greeted him as he woke up from his nap with a cheery, “Hi Anthony, do you want to go outside with Bella and Sophie?”

There was so much yard to explore. So many things to investigate. So much to see and poke at and taste and feel.

Anthony finds the garden bed.

He was very mad when I told him to stop throwing my soil around.

Anthony was so thrilled to have climbed up the ladder.


Bella plays peek-a-boo with Anthony.

After an afternoon in the yard, Anthony needed a bath.

Fortunately, Anthony loves the bath.

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  • First, let me say, I have not read this book.

    But my kids are very fond of the Monster at the End of This Book and its sequel and they love the way the characters “interact” with them as readers. I think it gives the book a unique feel of being real. Now, there is no dread of nonexistence at the end but there is still the dread of the end of the book and, one of them, likewise makes the suggestion to go back and reread the book. As I said, I haven’t read We Are In A Book, but I can’t help wonder if too much is being read into it. Amazon says the book is for kids 4 and up. I don’t think many 4, 5 or 6 year olds read a book and even consider the idea of the characters dying or ceasing to exist just because they finish the book. It is not the end of the characters, but the end of that particular adventure.

    Maybe I am completely wrong, but it seems to me that the author of the essay is imposing adult interpretations and assumptions on a pretty simple children’s book. Similar to robbing children of their innate belief of the existence of God, it seems like he might be robbing readers of the innocence of the book. I haven’t read the book – do the characters fear the end of the book or the end of their existence and lives? They are not mutually exclusive. As I understand it, the pig and elephant characters are in a book series, which, for me, would make all the stronger an argument that each book is only a glimpse, a window, into individual moments of the characters. If the characters were really meant to be viewed as dying or ceasing to exist after the book, there would be no other books of them. Are we to view every book as the end of the characters just because we reach the last page? Does Samwise Gamgee die and cease to exist just because we finish LOTR?

    I find it really unnerving that he groups this picture book for 4 year olds with the final Harry Potter book and The Hunger Games – not exactly 4 year old material. I haven’t read The Hunger Games, but I’d say the final Harry Potter book is not even 13 year old material myself and yet, while it definitely deals with death, it also most definitely claims there is life after death. It does provide the solace of an afterlife.

    I can’t help but wonder if the author is just projecting his own beliefs onto books where they are not necessarily supported.

  • This is so interesting, because I assume the author (or at least other materialists) would argue that it does children no favors to allow them to live under the delusion of an afterlife. I don’t agree with that, obviously.

    I also don’t see why it couldn’t be the case that Elephant and Piggie just live in a different plane of existence and they only interact with us via our reading the book, then they go back to living their lives. I mean, that’s how I conceive of the characters in children’s books. I don’t really understand – granted, I haven’t read this particular book – why you’d have to frame it in terms of “children, understand that this story reflects the ultimate nothingness that awaits us all someday.”