The other day, as we were tidying up the living room, Andy remarked that we seem to be running a home for battered children's books.

It's true. Babar is in bad shape, and Thomas looks like a train wreck survivor.

We try. But the wuggies have a very intense relationship with books. Usually things are amicable, but whenever there's a tussle 'twixt tome and tyke, the wuggy wins.

All this is very frustrating, and deeply rankles our bibliophilic souls.

Today, as I was reading Isaiah his pre-nap book of choice, I was horrified to realize that the last two pages, two very crucial pages, had been ruthlessly torn out.

But on second thought, it really does seem to be an improvement.

Before I explain, I should probably warn you that there will be spoilers ahead. So if you would like to keep the ending a surprise, stop reading here. However, I do think that fretting too much about "spoilers" seems rather pointless in this particular genre. No matter how many children's books you may have, you will always end up reading one of them over and over and over, 20 times a day. All you can do is hope that it's something like this, and not something like this. All things considered, I'd say we got pretty lucky.

Anyway, in this wonderful gem of a book, George is a dog, and his mother wants to hear him bark. But instead of saying "arf," as all good dogs must, George meows. On the second try, he quacks, and then he oinks. When finally he actually starts mooing, his very distraught mommy takes him straight into the vet. Who, of course, dons his rubber gloves, reaches down George's throat, and pulls out an assortment of very dazed looking animals. Finally, once the cow is out of him, George barks beautifully, and there was much rejoicing.

I've often thought that it would be a delightful little book if it just ended right there. Now that our copy actually does, I can't say that I'm too terribly disappointed. Do we really need to know that on the way home, walking a long the crowded street, George said "hello"? I think not.

But don't tell the wuggies I said so.

Wouldn't want to give them the idea that sort of thing's condoned around here.

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