Recently the NY Times ran an article about lower sales of children's picture books as parents worried about their children's performance on tests pushed them to read chapter books at an earlier age. Naturally this has caused heated conversation in our household and also among our friends here in Park Slope, the breeder capital of New York City. Because we want Willa to be as prepared as possible we've decided to skip chapter books and have her start reading catalogs to better understand merchandising, product presentation, and outfit matching, so she can outperform her peers in what is sure to be stiff competition for sales associate and retail concierge service jobs. Recently she has been concentrating on learning the names and likes of the models in the Boden catalog, and we have friends whose slightly older child is reading the descriptions and watching product videos on the B&H site to get ahead with electronic retailing. But even this type of reading requires the same kind of dedication that young Laurence Gignac's mother showed when she said, “He would still read picture books now if we let him, because he doesn’t want to work to read," so when Willa starts making up tales about young Jana and Isadora we steer her right back to the item descriptions, material lists, and prices. By the way if anyone has any catalogs in Mandarin to spare think of us.