“Penny Bee, go to SLEEP!” I hear Mama’s not so happy voice. She is standing at the bottom of the stairs. How did she see me? She went away, she went to the downstairs. She kissed me good night, and put the covers on me, and closed the door. But I didn’t want to sleep. I felt wrong lying down. I saw the sunshine on the white window curtains. My legs felt hot and twisty under the covers. I needed to check on the dolls in the toy box. Somehow Mama saw me get out of my new, big girl bed. Mama knows everything I do.
“Do you want me to come up there?” If I hear crackle and scratch on the stairs, she is coming up to my room. That means I am bad. No, I don’t want that! My bare feet run to my bed and jump me onto my big, bouncy kingdom. I make the covers float over my head, like a cape I can fly with, or the magic carpet story Daddy reads from a big book. The book has pictures that tell other stories, too, about princesses who dance every night, or a little man who turns straw into gold. People in stories know how to do things I can’t do yet.
“Penny Bee, I don’t want to hear you out of bed again!” I don’t want to be bad, but I can’t make myself stay lying down. I want a story. Pages in books have stories that you tell by looking at the pictures. I can tell the story, too. I don’t need Daddy.
I crawl to the foot of the bed, under the covers the whole way so I am invisible. Mama can’t see me if I am under the covers! No one can see me! I reach out to the dark brown box where the books squeeze against each other. Here’s one with a rabbit with hearts on his tummy, and a tree with big cat who smiles and a little girl who knows how to go through a mirror to Another Real Place.
Everything in the story picture is so pretty – a big party table and tall, fancy cake in a garden of flowers. I want to go there. Go into the book. Then, I can touch the flowers and taste the cake. How do I do that – go into the book? I look at each flower, to see if it is real. At last I find a part of the picture that is really alive – the little rose bush on the corner of the page. The color of the petals hums the way a real flower does, and the leaves open and close, sipping in air.
Now all I do is squeeze down very tight. I pull all of myself into the real live roses, and crawl under their petals. Here I am! Inside the book! The grass feels cool under my bare feet. Everything shines like the sun is inside it – the sky and the clouds and even the wind. I can hear voices. “Hi, honey,” they say, “You’re home.” It must be the roses. I knew they could talk.