A dialogue between me and Serena at a bookstore over a year ago:
S: Mommy, can we buy this?
[A Renaissance Fashions book in hand.]
T: This looks difficult! The pictures are so intricate, it'll take you forever to colour one of these. Are you sure?
[Flipping through the pages, ready to decline the purchase.]
S: Yes, mommy, I love them! I promise I will colour them!
T: Are you really really sure? You're not just going to colour one page and put the book aside like all your other princess colouring books??
S: Yes, yes, yes, I promise!
T: OK, if I buy this and you give up after colouring just one page, I will never ever buy you another colouring book again. Do you understand?
[Absolutely sure that I would never have to buy another colouring book again.]
S: Yes, mommy, I promise!
Since then, Serena has spent countless hours meticulously colouring every detail of each costume. She totally blew me away with her concentration and artistry. The pictures came out so beautifully that I framed a bunch of them for display in the living room.
The colouring book has recently resurfaced after being shelved for a while. This time around, Serena has decided to make paper-doll puppets, and she's been creating fantastic stories all day long with these new characters.
Looking back, I realized the failings of all the previous colouring books - they allowed no "scope for imagination" as Anne Shirley would put it. Renaissance Fashions is the best $5.95 I've ever spent.
The moral of the story: Thou shall not doubt nor underestimate your child.