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Summer Memories: Reading Rainbow

I’ll admit a bit of my dorky smart-kid history: I loved PBS when I was a child. The Letter People, 3-2-1 Contact, The Electric Company – they all enthralled me. I wasn’t a big Sesame Street fan for some reason, nor did I want to live anywhere near Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. But I loved learning about science and words, and my favorite show of all was Reading Rainbow.

I can still hear the theme song in my head (and you can too down below):

Butterfly in the sky
I can go twice as high
Take a look
It’s in a book
A Reading Rainbow…
I can go anywhere
Friends to know
And ways to grow
A Reading Rainbow…
I can be anything
Take a look
It’s in a book
A Reading Rainbow.

Aside from the obvious rainbow correlation to the unbeknownst-gay boy I was, I loved the whole idea of being transported to other worlds through the simple reading of a book. While it didn’t instill a love of reading in me (that was done long before LeVar Burton stepped onto the scene, thanks to a library book on the tulip craze of Holland), it certainly fortified the passion.

It was also a summer memory – as I can clearly remember a few episodes that took place while summer storms raged outside and there was nothing to be done inside. Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain was especially evocative of a summer afternoon. James Earl Jones was the narrator, and his voice worked its wondrous magic with those glorious rhyming words.

(As for that tulip book from the library, I must have made my Mom check it out over and and over, so I could pore over the drawings of tulips, and read about the economic insanity of a time when a single tulip bulb sold for $1000.)

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