It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Grown-ups laugh at the weirdest things…

Our theme for the month is fairy tales. I’ve read lots of books and told lots of stories this month. Some have luscious language, some have luscious illustrations. Since I don’t stick to board books, or even the preschool section of the library, many were too wordy for this wriggly crew, and had to be shortened as we went, me telling the story that fit the picture and pretty much ignoring the text altogether.

THIS was one book I didn’t have to edit down. At all.

I loved it. The joke extends through the entire book, with the desperate dad making the stories shorter and shorter in an effort to get past “the end” to SLEEP! as quickly as possible. The joke is, of course, entirely lost on my crew, but I’d say children from about six on up will get the joke, as well as enjoy the stories.

I love the hints scattered through the text. At the end of “Small Girl, Red Hood”, the woodsman looks at the small girl and says, “Wow, I’m really tired, how about you?”

“Princess Pea” ends with this: “And so she married the prince. Is there a pea under your bed? Then what’s your excuse? Go to sleep.”

I think my all-time favourite is “The Old Lady’s Shoe”, quoted here in its entirety. (Which will take me roughly 63 seconds to type, I’m sure.)

There was an old lady
Who lived in a shoe.
She had so many kids.
She didn’t know what to do.
Stories were read
Until her face turned blue

When kids wouldn’t go to bed,
She sold them to the zoo.

(Wrong! 34 seconds!)

You know what this book is? It’s the precursor to Go the F**k to Sleep, without the all the f**k-ing. It’s more subtle (and thus, cleverer), and, unlike “Go the F**k”, it really is something you can share with your chidren.

Once Upon a Time, the End. Read it! You’ll love it.

(Your kids may not. Who cares?)

January 25, 2012 Posted by | books | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Our New Favourite Book

I have a neighbour, other side of the street, one door east, who is a teacher. Elementary school. Every so often she changes classrooms or changes grades (or, less often, changes schools), requiring a significant purge-and-declutter of stuff. Does any profession accumulate “stuff” like an elementary school teacher? Oh, probably, bit it’s one I’m more familiar with.

And in this case, benefit from, for whenever the lovely Marianne does a purge, a box and a bag and a bucket of stuff come my way. And Marianne’s cast-offs are worth having!!! I have gotten the most amazing stuff from her.

And then there’s this. I’m not sure how it slipped through her filters, but this book is a pedagogical fail.

It is also OUR VERY MOST FAVOURITE BOOK!!!! Why? Let me explain…

It starts out blandly enough. (Oh, and in M’s defense, I should add that it started out in good condition. Those roughed-up corners? Daisy. I’m telling you now (because if I didn’t, how would you ever guess?) puppies are MURDER on board books.) So, a book, a little kitschy in that it’s a licensed product, but Beatrix Potter is pretty benign as far as licensing goes. Way better than, say, Dora the Explorer or (gag me) Sponge Bob…

Great literature it’s not, but the point of the book is clear and simple. (The text of this picture less so. My new camera is cheap and focus-challenged. Sorry about that. Now all you twenty- and thirty-something young’uns can get a teaser of what you’ll be seeing when you’re a fifty-something without your reading glasses… Just squint a bit. It’ll come right into focus!!)

On ensuing pages, we learn that Benjamin Bunny’s jacket is brown, and Mrs. Tabitha Twitchit has a purple dress. And then we come to this:

Peter Rabbit eats red radishes. Red… radishes… Let’s have a closer look shall we?

Now, it may very well be true that Peter Rabbit does indeed eat red radishes. Lord only knows he’s a bunny, and they do love their veggies!

But unless Peter has in his thieving hands a bunch of mutant radishes, I’d say those are carrots.

Orange carrots.

The kids? Do they have a problem with this? Does it offend and bemuse them? Are their little minds a-twist with confusion? No. Not at all. Not for a second.

No, they think this is hysterical. This is not “Benjamin Bunny’s colours” to them, this is “The Silly Carrot Book.” We read it a LOT for the sheer joy of falling all over ourselves laughing at this very page. I pick up this book, and you can see the two-year-olds priming themselves for hysteria.

“AAAHHH! Mary’s going to read the book with the page with the WRONG COLOUR!!! And the WRONG VEGETABLE!!!”

Cue mad display of feverish laughter. IT IS SO FUN!!!! A grown-up has somehow made a mistake, and they know it’s wrong!!!! Does it get any better?


This, my friends, is Toddler Humour at its peak.

October 21, 2011 Posted by | books | , , , , , | 8 Comments

You say to-MAH-to…

Anna arrived in pajamas and carrying a sandwich, her breakfast.

Seems Anna was not with the out-the-door program this morning. She has her moments here, too, the times she stomps her foot and attempts to claim the place at the top of the daycare food chain. With Anna, though, all I usually have to do is laugh — not hard, she’s so cute when she’s attempting to usurp my spot — and she joins right in, chortling her husky chuckle. And then we move on. With each of us in our rightful spots.

And at home? Dad has the laughter technique pretty well nailed; it’s clear Anna got her well-developed sense of humour from him. Mom is not humour-impaired, but she worries more, she often carries an air of anxiety. Anna and dad? They just go with the flow.

Well, except when Anna decides to be the rock in that flow… I’m thinking pajama mornings are rock mornings.

Having kissed and dismissed daddy, Anna plonks her pajama’d butt on the bench, unwraps her sandwich, and commences to make cheerful conversation with Timmy.

“I have a peanut-butter sandwich.”

Timmy is poking holes in playdough with a straw. He nods and echoes. He is a great echo-er, is Timmy. Frequent, and often mindlessly reflexive echoes. “You have a penis-butter sandwich.” He peers down the straw, then shakes it, trying to dislodge the dot of dough in the end. It’s stuck, darnit.

“I have a peanut-butter sandwich.”

“A penis-butter sandwich.” Maybe if he whacks the straw against the edge of the table?

“No, I have a pea…” You can see the moment when she suddenly hears the words. The gleam in her eye brightens. Mischief crackles about her.

“I have a penis-butter sandwich!!”

This is the funniest thing that’s happened to Anna in days! Weeks! Years! Possibly her ENTIRE LIFE! She’s shaking, shrieking, squealing with laughter. Timmy lifts his eyes from the still-plugged straw, his attention finally caught by the waves of hilarity washing through the dining room.

“Hey, Timmy! I have a penis-butter sandwich!”



Breakfast will never be the same again…

September 5, 2008 Posted by | Anna, food, Mischief, the things they say!, Timmy | , , , | 10 Comments