Note: I’ve been telling bedtime stories to my son (age 4). Here’s one of them.


Once upon a time there was a young boy named Ollie. And Ollie loved to read. He loved books of all kinds: books about animals, books about spaceships, books about cooking, books about flowers and books about the ocean.

One day, Ollie wandered into his dad’s office. And he was amazed to find a really big bookcase full of hundreds of books. Ollie decided that he was going to read ALL of Dad’s books (even Dad hasn’t read all of Dad’s books)! He began at the bottom shelf and started reading. He found books about Jesus, books about West Virginia, books about gardening, books about haiku and several books for Dummies.

It took Ollie months to make it across the bottom row of books. It took him several years to get through the 4 other rows of books. As he read, he grew taller and taller. He would finish one row of books and grow just enough to reach the next row.

When Ollie turned 12, he had reached the top row on the bookcase. He knew he was almost finished. As he reached for the first book on the top row, he noticed a yellow book on top of the bookcase. He couldn’t reach it, but he could read the title: The Adventures of Ollie. He had never known there was a book all about him. He began reading the other books as fast as he could. When he finished the last book on the top shelf, he stretched and stretched until he could reach the yellow book on the top. His dad watched him from his desk.

Ollie got the yellow book down and opened it. He couldn’t believe his eyes. And he started to get mad: the pages were blank. Every page was empty. No words. No pictures. Nothing.

“I have a gift for you,” Dad said. Ollie opened the package: it was a box of pens.

“The next best book is the one you write yourself.”