Monday, November 23, 2015

One, Two Buckle My Shoe...



Over the summer, I've returned to a very old form of literature. It's also a very simple form of literature--in some ways.

No, it's not "See Spot run!" But that's a good guess.

I guess it's something that happen when you have a toddler in the house--you start reading books you first heard twenty (or more) years ago. It's an interesting experience. You start noticing things about the books that you never noticed as a kid.

The stories can be fairly innocuous at times.

Kids don't know much about the world yet, so it's easy to introduce them to new things. "Look! This is a strawberry. Strawberries are red. And caterpillars turn into butterflies."

Sometimes the stories make you scratch your head and ask why. Not, "Why is the world this way?" Rather, "Why? Why did anyone thing that was okay to write?"

I mean, if you were a mother bird bringing breakfast back to your just-hatched chick, and your chick started telling your about this cow and the dog and a hen and a thing called a Snort, wouldn't you start squawking bloody murder? If that happened to me, I know I'd want all the how-comes and where-fores.

I won't even get started on the stories that are all about the message--You can do it, if you try. Don't talk to strangers, or else. Don't be a greedy pig. Be nice to the kitty. It's going to be okay.

Good messages all of them (usually), but they can be overwhelming when they're rammed right down the throat of an innocent storybook.

Some of the stories are just devious.

One of the books we read recently was about a little old man who couldn't read. He could make beautiful wooden toys, but he only survives because his wife (who can read) handles the shopping...and the rest of his business, presumably.

Then she goes off on a trip and tells him what he needs to get at the store for his next few meals. As a kid, of course, I just thought this was part of the story. Trips are a normal part of life, right?

As an adult, however, I totally get it. If all she really cared about was his food, why didn't she just buy the groceries for him and leave them on the counter at home? She knew he couldn't get through the shopping trip without being able to read--she was setting him up for failure.

Then there's the entire Suess canon. I think we shall return to that topic when it's time to learn about alliteration, repetition, and rhymes.

Still, I would like to know--what if you do try the green eggs and ham...and you don't like them, even then?