“Run, run, as fast as you can,” I read softly. “You can’t catch me! I’m the Gingerbread Man!” (1) Salty tears spilled down my cheeks blurring the words. I hugged the book to my chest and began to sing quietly to my Friend, “Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.”
“What’s wrong?” Mrs. Runcie asked.
My heart leaped, Maybe I could tell her.
“Why don’t you try this one?” She held out The Golden Book ABC’s.
“That’s a baby book,” I said sniffing in the trickle from my nose.
“What about Goodnight Moon?” she asked.
“The pictures are pretty but there’s no story.”
She looked intently at me, “No story?”
“I like books that have a story,” I said in a small, high voice.
“Will you read the story to me?” she asked.
“I ran away from an old woman. I ran away from an old man. I ran away from a cow, and I can run away from you! I can!” (2)
“Try this,” she handed me another book.
“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.” (3)
With a puzzled smile she said, “You can read.”
(1) The Gingerbread Man, http://www.storyit.com/Classics/Stories/gingerbreadman.htm
(3) Madeline, Ludwig Bemelman, New York : Simon and Schuster, 1939.