I was skeptical of so many things last week when seven-year-old S picked up five Hank the Cowdog audiobooks (three CDs each) at the library. Skeptical that he would have time to listen to them all. Skeptical that he would be able to keep track of 15 CDs. And, especially, skeptical that he would do any “real” reading with all those books available just for the listening.

I remember when S was around four years old and newly capable of reading but also very impatient. Sure he could read, but it was so much faster to get the information out of those books by having Mom and Dad read them aloud, which we did. I guess I was thinking last week that maybe not much had changed, except for John Erickson narrating in place of the parental units.

If I’d looked at my own reading plans, I might not have given his choices a second thought: For a new research project, I was waiting for my branch library to provide two books I’d requested — one “real” book for reading in the evenings, one on CD for listening to during my commute.

My plan has worked out beautifully, and so has his. Not only has S devoured the Hank books and managed to (more or less) keep track of the discs, but he’s been a reading machine this past week. He’s plowed through at least a couple of my old The Great Brain paperbacks, galloped past me in finishing the second and third books in the Prairie Skies series, and consumed anew many of the U.S. history picture books I brought home for this month.

Plus, Calvin and Hobbes. Always, always Calvin and Hobbes.

Having seen all this, the only thing I’m skeptical about now is how I could have been so skeptical a week ago.