Where are the penguins?

“Where are the penguins, mummy?”

The first question this morning when we charge into the living room in our usual Superhero-type, enthusiastic style.

Not aware of any favourite books featuring penguins, I say, “I’m not sure, my love. What penguins are they?” and wander sleepily into the kitchen to make the toast.

Behind me I hear some quiet counting… “One penguin, two penguin, three penguin, FOUR PENGUIN!”

I pop my head around into the living room to see him kneeling in front of a bookcase, a picture of intense concentration, his little finger hovering over the spines of some Penguin classic books, sitting randomly on the shelves.

My heart quivers and I want to run over and squeeze that adorable little creature. But I wait and watch.

“THERE’S the penguins, mummy!” And counts them again. A pause to deliberate one particular penguin. “What’s that one?”

I come over and kneel beside him. He points to a very faded penguin whose wings stretch to almost the edge of the spine, so thin is the book. I pull it off the shelf.

“It’s a book called Of Mice and Men.”

“Oh, OK. Read it to me.”

So that’s how I ended up at 6.30 on a Thursday morning, sitting on the floor, reading Steinbeck to a two-year old. I couldn’t for the life of me remember how the book starts so I opened the first page hoping it wasn’t TOO unsuitable for a toddler. In the end we only made it through a sentence or two before the toast popped up and the usual routine kicked in. But we had a wonderful fleeting moment.

All thanks to the power of the penguin…

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