"Nope," the girls respond as they fasten their seatbelts. The three-year-old can almost do all the parts of her car seat without help.
"It's Babymouse's birthday!" I tell them, and they both cheer. The three-year-old might not read yet, but she definitely knows who Babymouse is.
When we don't find the books on the shelf at the bookstore near their house, I lead the six-year-old to the counter. These kids are not strangers to the booksellers, especially the children's booksellers, but it's still tough for a six-year-old to ask for help in the store.
"Go ahead," I coax. "Even if they don't have the book, they'll order it for us, and they'll know that they should order more for other kids."
She finally asks her question, but before the bookseller can look the title up in the computer, we're rescued by Betsy. She's known these kids since they were toddlers mostly interested in standing over the air conditioning vents and watching their clothes balloon up.
"I'm sure we have Babymouse," she says. "Let's look in the back." She emerges with two copies, and each girl grabs one.
"We'll take both," I say. "Hopefully I'll be able to get one for my classroom." Both girls are already reading their books. I have to keep my arm around the six-year-old's shoulders as we walked to the car so she won't trip.
I leave the six-year-old at the house with her piano teacher when we go to pick up the third grader and his friend at their tennis lesson. The three-year-old brings the new Babymouse for her brother. He is reading it before he's even started buckling his seatbelt, completely ignoring his friend.
"Do you know Babymouse?" I ask the boy.
"No," he answers.
The three-year-old gives him a look of dismay. "Do you know the lunch lady?" she asks.
He shakes his head. "Nope."
"Do you know Squish?" she asks in disbelief.
He shakes his head again. The three-year-old gives a snort of disgust. She can't read yet, but she's definitely judging his knowledge of books and finding him lacking.
The last time I looked, she still had the family copy of Happy Birthday, Babymouse on the shelf in her room.