Aleah and I sit at a little table outside her public-school first-grade classroom. She is one of my reading buddies; she was last year, too. First grade was a little too much for her, so she's repeating it. First grade was a little too much for several other classmates. Aleah likes to read.
We are looking at the cover of Janet Morgan Stoeke's Minerva Louise and the Colorful Eggs. "She's going to have an adventure," Aleah says. Minerva Louise is a hen. "Hens are the girls. The females. And the roosters are the daddies," Aleah tells me. I listen as she reads. We laugh at the endearingly mixed-up Minerva Louise, who thinks an Easter basket is a hat.
Apropos of something, Aleah says, "I know how to say beautiful in French!"
"Yes." She kisses the tips of her fingers, and says, through pursed lips, "Bee-yoo-tee-fool."