This One Doesn’t Eat Books

You know that Friends episode where Monica fills in for a food critic and gives the restaurant a scathing review? Then when the owner challenges her description of the food she backs up her opinion with this line:

“I couldn’t eat it. I have five friends who couldn’t eat it. And one of them eats books.” 

I think of that line every time I’m reading to Ethan and I pick up one of the books I read to Connor when he was a baby. They’re all missing pieces around the edges, particularly at the corners, and in some cases sections of the covers are completely eaten away. Yes, eaten away.

I could barely get through a book with Connor when he was small. Before he was even six months old he had devoured some of the classics – Goodnight Moon, The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. (He always has been quite literal, if not literary.)

These days Connor loves stories at bedtime, and occasionally at other times too. But he has never been a kid who will sit quietly and look at books. One night when he was about 3 1/2 we realized he was still awake after bedtime. We peeked in his room and he had taken most of the books off his bookshelf and had made tents with them – open and upside down, each one formed an inverse V on his bed. He had systematically lined them up, row upon row of books turned into a tent city, completely covering his double bed. It was hilarious and perfect and so very him.

Ethan, on the other hand, loves to read. He will sit and flip through books for ages. He’s mostly quite gentle, and the other night when I saw him reading some paperback Christmas stories I’ve had since I was little I wasn’t terribly worried that he would tear them apart. He just flipped through, looking at all the pictures in one book before putting it down and picking up the next.

I love that he already has a love of reading. And I love that he doesn’t eat books.



At least not yet.


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  1. Oh, that’s too cute. The tents! I think Henry and Ivy ruined it for the rest of them, because they tore up books (and Essie, during the rare instances that she got paper books)….thank goodness for board books! I love that Ethan is so gentle. That is so, so sweet. I bet he’s a cuddle bug, isn’t he?

  2. What a cutie! So adorable that he has a love of books already.

  3. My oldest was just like Connor at that age. And the little one is just like Ethan. He loves books, being read to, and flipping through allthebooks. It makes my heart happy!

  4. Both of my boys are hardcore book lovers…and both ate them. Eddie MUCH more than Charlie though. Watching little ones look at books on their own makes my heart fill with happy.

  5. We go through phases with books around here. When he was a baby he ripped them apart and then we went through a phase where he was great with them and really gentle and now at 3 he’s back to ripping.

  6. Books feed the soul… apparently quite literally for some people. ;) As a former reading teacher, I love hearing about kids who develop a love of books at an early age. (And mad respect for your FRIENDS reference; I’m convinced that everything in life relates back to either a FRIENDS or SEINFELD episode.)

  7. Both my kids were book eaters and sometimes I think my son (12!) still likes to nibble… Also, I still love watching Friends :)

  8. My oldest (who is 8) did the same thing with his books once. Made little tents out of them but had them in lines all across his bedroom floor. There must have been at least 40 books like that. If not more! (We own a lot of books. I used to be a librarian. hehe!) And I have a similar picture of him reading books when he was only a year old. I just found him one day in his room silently “reading” to himself. Glad to say he still loves to read.

  9. We have lots and lots of books with chewed corners. Thankfully neither of my kids was horrible, but it does seem like most kids go through this phase.

  10. This is so cute! I like to say that I consume books. Looks like it’s true for your Connor, too. :)

  11. Neither of my boys ate books, and they each went through phases with reading, but they like it more often than not. My oldest cannot go to sleep at night without reading for a few minutes first. I hope he never loses that. :)

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