“It’s all tangled up,” Laredo says, as she tries to untangle the colored strings holding their brightly-colored buttons onto The Button Book. This children’s book features 10 scenes resembling felt-board illustrations. In each one, there are a number of “holes” where the kids are supposed to put the different buttons. I found my copy at a second-hand book sale. My mom also found a copy at a second-hand sale. Maybe that should have been a CLUE about how maddening this book would turn out to be. In fact, every time I read it I think about donating it.
But it has some lessons to teach, beyond just color recognition and hand-eye coordination. Most importantly, it teaches patience. The parent learns patience by having to untangle the button strings EVERY time the kid wants to read the book, and the child learns patience by waiting for the parent to untangle the buttons EVERY time they want to read the book. So I put it back on the shelf, and I take it back down off the shelf, and it hasn’t been donated—at least not yet.
I love how even life’s little frustrations can teach us something, or remind us of something we thought we had already learned.