Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Truth in Storytelling?

An update to yesterday's Cabela's post: today O. brought up our visit there, leading me to wonder if he is a secret reader of the blog.
"Mommy, all the animals at the animal place, were they real animals that were died?"
I told him that I thought that most of them were probably statues, but that yes, some of them were real animals that hunters took the meat from.
"So, they took their back legs and their butts?"
Huh?? I expressed a little confusion, and hoped not too much dismay.
"Or, maybe, they were just sticking their heads through the wall, and the rest of them is on the other side!"
Maybe. You're right. That could be, my boy. That would be silly, wouldn't it?
See? If you're not ready to deal with the circle of life questions, not the place to go.

And then, during bedtime books, O. insisted on reading the Thanksgiving books I had tried to stash for later in the month. The holiday books go fast at our branch, so I have to get them early, but tire of the "how many more days to X" conversations.
Anyway, one of the titles was a Richard Scarry first Thanksgiving treatment, featuring "Low Leaf" Worm (rather than our friend Lowly from Busy Town). I chose it thinking it would be a happy little cartoon version of Pilgrims and Native Americans, but NO. This is the "truth in history" version, covering I kid you not, the pox blankets, capturing of Native Americans for slavery, and rampant illness and deaths of the Europeans the first winter. It ends well, with Tisquantim (AKA Squanto) helping out the Pilgrims with the old fish fertilizer trick for the corn and the big feast at the end, but there had to be much skimming of text, something you have to be quite careful with while reading to O. He does not allow skipping of pages, even in the most tedious of books.
I'm all for making sure that history doesn't get whitewashed, and that we represent all the important players and groups in our remembering of historical events. BUT...I'm a little uncomfortable with a drawing of a very ill looking Huckle the Cat in a bleak winter scene, accompanied by a little mound of dirt that looks suspiciously like a grave when I'm reading to my THREE year old. Am I wrong that a grade schooler who might benefit from this narration of events is a little old for Richard Scarry?
Oh well. I'll just stick this book in J's office along with the one about hyenas we got last time (focused almost exclusively on the fact that these animals are scavengers, so there are TONS of dead and decaying animal carcass photos. I just love some bloody zebra bones at bedtime, how about you?) and hope O. doesn't ask for it again.
I'm guessing he won't, as the conversation after reading quickly turned to: "But Mommy, it's fall. When will we have Thanksgiving?"
I assured him that it would be in a couple of weeks, and that we would have a big dinner with lots of good foods. I began to name them: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, sweet potatoes...
He stuck his arm up in the air, interrupting me at that.
"But don't give ME any sweet potatoes. Because I don't like them."
Oh yes? What is it that you do like, O.?
"Oh, you know. All the fings in our freezer. Like frozen pancakes. Oh, and CANDY."
Should be a fun harvest food celebration with him around.


Brittany said...

What a particular little man. And if you are serving pancakes and candy, count me in!

CaraBee said...

Note to self: avoid Richard Scarry Thanksgiving book.

mep said...

This post inspires me to follow through on one that's been "percolating" for a couple of months now: all the reasons I hate reading Babar to my toddler.

Also, I am picturing a Thanksgiving horn of plenty filled with chicken nuggets, frozen pancakes, fruit snacks, hot dogs, goldfish crackers, and, of course, lots of candy.