Our girls were fighting about this or that or whatever when I finally separated them. I just couldn't take the bickering anymore. I was too frustrated to talk to either of them when I remembered a new book which recently arrived on our front porch for a book review.
I walked to the blond twin and handed her the book Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear. I said, "Read it and tell me what it's about."
A good book tells a story within a story. As Virginia Wolf opens, Vanessa is trying to be with her sister. Maybe she wants to play. Maybe she wants to draw together. Either way it doesn't matter. Virginia is howling. Vanessa tries everything to make her sister feel better. She comes up with a great idea. She'll create an imaginary, perfect place called Bloomsberry.
When the blond twin was done, I asked her what the book was about the blond twin said, "Virginia's sister was crabby." I said, "Really? Read it again."
When she read it a second time we talked about how Virginia was sick. Vanessa loved her so much she would do anything to make her sister feel better, including creating a gorgeous place called Bloomsberry. The blond twin said, "I love Sissy that much." I said, "Really? Maybe you should let her know."
A few minutes later the girls were reading Virginia Wolf. They discussed who would be the artist and who would be sick. They debated who loved the other one enough to create her dream world. It was adorable to listen to them.
Kyo Maclear wrote a beautiful book about sisterly devotion. Isabelle Arsenault drew pictures so beautiful I think you could pull any one of them out of a book, frame it and display it as an art collection. The words and illustrations work together to tell a story I'm not sure I could verbalize.
It's one reason I like having so many books around. I didn't have to fight with the girls or lecture them. I just handed them Virginia Wolf and let the book work its magic.