Last night, as we did last January as well, the students in my Winter Term course on Writing Children's Books carpooled out to the Prindle Institute, two miles from campus, to share favorite children's books by the beautiful fireplace in the Prindle Great Room. The wearing of pajamas was encouraged. So was attendance by stuffed animal friends.
Perhaps a third of the students wore their pj's, some earning extra credit from me (well, imaginary extra credit) for wearing footie pajamas or fluffy bathrobes. A number of students brought friends with them, both stuffed and human. In addition to my stuffed puppet Ruby, who has been my constant companion during my year and a half at DePauw, I spotted a large Pooh bear, a Pikachu (from Pokemon), a moose, a well-worn dog, and a very old cloth doll. Ruby introduced herself to all of them. Readers of this blog know that I love making voices for stuffed animals!
I wore my Lanz of Salzburg nightgown (over my regular clothes) and served milk, apple cider, hot chocolate, and all different kinds of cookies. . And then we gathered around the fireplace and read: Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Junie B. Jones, Shel Silverstein, a recent picture book called Ten Thousand Dresses, Louis Sachar's Sideways Stories from Wayside School. One student read his own picture-book-in-progress. I would have read a short scene from my Mason Dixon: Pet Disasters, but enough students had brought books to read to us that I enjoyed just listening instead.
Many DePauw students are taking Winter Term courses off campus, studying hip hop music in Brazil, dance in Morocco, legend and landscape in Brittany (oh, wouldn't that one be delicious?), environmental sustainability in Tanzania, the geology of New Zealand. Those would be fun, I must admit. But maybe not more fun than reading classic picture books on a cold Indiana evening to stuffed animals by a fireplace.