Lately I’ve been reading a lot of board books. You know, the square-ish kind with thick, cardboard pages. Goodnight, Moon and Bert’s Bedtime Story and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. I read them aloud, of course, and Leo and Charlie take turns (more or less) turning the pages. Very often, they turn two or three or five pages at once–sometimes on purpose, when the pace of the story needs some pick-up, and often by accident, when enthusiasm to see what happens next overcomes finger dexterity. In those latter instances, we find ourselves suddenly on the wrong page, a step ahead of where the story should be. We pause. I say, “We skipped a page!” and back we go to rescue the overlooked piece of the rhyme or plot turn.
I have such a strong memory of this phenomenon: skipping a page. The visceral feeling of suddenly landing where you did not expect to land. You see, we readers are participant storytellers. We understand the build of a story as well as any writer; the story operates in concert with our expectations–meeting them, surprising them convincingly, or surprising them wrongly, terribly wrongly–as when a page is simply skipped.
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