Tennyson Street School: prologue

“This is a riddle book,” I dutifully began. I sat in a child’s blue plastic chair, my knees grazing the low, trapezoidal laminate table in the carpeted classroom tucked between cubical walls displaying an empty calendar grid, a blank whiteboard. Aiden, a first grader, looked at the thin paperback, a beginning reader book, then shyly glanced at me. I flipped through the scant pages, showing him the few words per page, each with an accompanying drawing of an animal.

I turned back to the front cover. “Can you read the title? What do you think it says?”

Aiden’s brow furrowed under his smooth brown hair. “What…Am…I….”

“That’s right, very good. And on each page – “ and here I opened to a picture of a monkey – “each animal will give you clues. And then, it will say those same words – ” and now I waited for Aiden, my finger indicating the line.

“What…am…I?” we said in unison. Maybe to each other. Asking.

So many riddles hidden within so few pages.