Thursday, September 8, 2011

Confessions from a Children's Book Junkie

Wallace’s Lists 
by Barbara Bottner and Gerald Kruglik

“Wallace, a mouse, could do almost anything. Anything, that is, as long as he had a list.

1.    Wallace is a shy mouse.
2.   He writes lists. Lists of recipes, funny words, and frightening experiences.
3.    Wallace meets his lively neighbor Albert.
4.    His world is swiftly opened to new delights, such as painting and music.
5.    Wallace and Albert experience the excitement of an adventure, and Wallace discovers a new joy…
6.    Friendship”

The above quote comes from the inside cover of this amazing children’s book.  I found this little morsel at our local library and while reading it to my boys, almost laughed out loud!  This book accurately depicts me and my husband. I’m Wallace and He’s Albert. J

My favorite section from the book is the following:
“I changed my mind.” Albert boasted.
Wallace was dumbfounded.
“Changing my mind is an adventure,” Albert explained.
“I don’t like adventures,” said Wallace.
“An adventure can be anything. Anything that isn’t planned for.”
“You mean anything that isn’t on a list?” asked Wallace.
“Exactly!” said Albert.
“Do you ever use a map?” Wallace continued. “I have lots of maps!”
“I don’t need maps,” said Albert, “because wherever I go, there I am.”
“But what if you get lost?”
“Being lost is automatically an adventure!” cried Albert.
“Suppose you get lost and then fall down and hurt yourself?”
“I pick myself up and keep going,” replied Albert.
“When I get in an accident, it makes me feel better to write a list,” said Wallace.

I read this to Mike but could hardly read coherently we were laughing so hard!  When we were dating, Mike would come pick me up in Chicago and go wherever we had to that weekend. There was no GPS back then so he’d just ask what direction we’d need to go. I’d tell him a rough estimate “North Arlington Heights area” and along a particular road and off we’d go. Mike’s Mapless Adventures they were. It was how I came to trust his sense of direction. He was always within a couple miles of where we needed to be.

I’m Wallace. I’m sorry to admit it at times, but it is the truth. There’s nothing better than a good list! Checking off things on my list is even better. J I don’t like things not planned. It bothers me to no end to not know what is going on when I’m stressed about something coming up. I’ve intentionally structured our home to run with routines… putting dirty laundry in the sorting bins as you take off your clothes, clearing your dishes when you’re finished eating, putting your glasses in one spot so you won’t have to play Hide N Seek with them when the bus will show up in less than 5 minutes… things like that. As with anything, a great strength can be your greatest weakness. Lists ignored and routines breached can make me feel rather Autistic at times. I feel out of control and the need to cling to something familiar. I rather understand Wallace’s need to write a list when he’s had an accident – even if it’s just a list of what could’ve happened to turn perspective on its head.

If you’re reading this and you happen to know Mike and I, separately or together, you’ll immediately understand the insane humor of the quote I listed previously. Enjoy reading it again to yourself… along with the irony of two mice talking about adventure and making lists. Oh, and if you want to find out what happens to Wallace and Albert, you'll have pick up this little gem at your library! Happy Reading!!

As for me, I think this book will be my next acquisition to my children’s book library.
Maybe I’ll add it to my Book List.

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