My son is a resistant reader. I struggle to find books that interest him, but contain words easy enough to sound out. There just aren’t many easy readers out there with space travel or robots or magicians as the main topic. Instead, we read Dr. Seuss and The Berenstein Bears again and again. Not anymore: I found Dick and Jane and Vampires at the library. What complete and utter genius to remake the classic series with a modern twist. The old-fashioned illustrations look just as I remember them from childhood, except with a gray-faced vampire peeking out from the bushes or from under baby Sally’s bed.

The vampire turns out to be shy and wanting of friends, not scary. The first few sections have a delicious tension, with sly glimpses of the vampire. My favorite is when Sally’s shadow on the sidewalk appears in the shape of the miniaturized vampire. This is certainly not for the easily scared child. But for my boy, addicted to fantasy and more likely to be drawing exploding volcanoes or dueling battle stations, this may be just the book to lure him into reading.

It has recently come to my attention that my kids think I’m a bit incompetent. We were discussing the care of our multiple pets. I make my children do at least half of the required day-to-day pet-keeping. They are fully capable of feeding cats, dogs and guinea pigs. I believe they benefit from having responsibility for the well-being of our pet-friends. They believe that I am incapable of doing these things, and that’s why they have to do it! For the life of me I don’t understand where this impression of my general incompetence comes from. For the record, I help with the “heavy lifting” such as complete changes of kitty litter, the weekly cleaning of the guinea pig chateau and bathing the dog.

My daughter, who does not usually enjoy sewing, decided to make her doll an apron out of an old towel. It has been a pleasure to watch her make her own pattern, cut out the apron and pockets and learn to use the sewing machine all by herself. She has been obsessed with origami and other paper crafts for a few years. I hope this is the beginning of a new hobby. I have enough paper cranes to string from here to Florida. How lucky would I be if she started pumping out napkins and curtains now instead of wee paper boxes? Even better, she should learn to darn socks. I swear her toes must have razors instead of toenails.