Last year our cousins Covin and Jenna got an “Elf on the Shelf.”  Maybe he was around earlier, we’re not sure.  We are sure that last year was when their elf stepped it up.  We heard that one day he was fishing in their toilet… and then one day the kids came home and he was making snow angels on the counter.  Anyway, Jakey was so freaked out about the elf moving around at night while his cousins were sleeping that he’d wake-up in a sweaty fright asking, “Where’s the elf?  Where’d the elf go?”

Lately we’ve been threatening to get our own elf and Mr. Firstborn is dead-set against it.  He’s not really buying the omnipresent Santa, but he knows the elf has a direct line to St. Nick.  In the meantime, I’ve found I’m falling behind on my self-imposed book reports… what to do?  Oh yeah, this is my universe where I can adjust deadlines willy-nilly and blame it on the book elf.  I invented the book elf tonight.  He’s the one that fills-up our book bag each night.  He forgot to do it last night because he might have been at a hotel in the city for a work offsite.  In any case, I called him during bath time tonight and he sped over in a jiffy.  He’s also quite responsive if I call him based on naughty behavior between the dinner table and the bathtub.

So tonight’s write-up is on a book called Ish by Peter H. Reynolds.

In a nutshell: Ish is a short story of a boy named Ramon who loves to draw.  He draws anything, anytime, anywhere (including while he’s sitting on the commode.)  One day his older brother Leon laughs at his drawing, destroys his confidence, and throws in the proverbial artist’s towel.  But then he finds that his little sister Marisol has been collecting his rejected works of art and describes them each as “vase-ish,” “sun-ish,” “fish-ish,” etc.  Ramon regains his confidence, revels in his new ish freedom and lives happily ever afterish.

I love this book because it helps to combat the popular “I can’t draw” myth that grabs hold of most people and strangles their creativity long before it should.  Jake likes to present me with his pictures and declare “I’m a little artist.”

Families can talk about: Can anyone be artistic?  What should you say or do if someone laughs at your work?  What does “ish” mean?  Is Ramon a girl or just a boy with big hair?  Is Jake Nate-ish or is Nate Jake-ish?


Photo courtesy of Ish by Peter H. Reynolds.


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