Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Fictionalizing Fiction

Yesterday Margot and I made our weekly trip to the library. We like to go on Tuesdays because there is a thirty-minute storytime in the mornings; afterwards, a librarian hands each child a free book with a big Target sticker on it. (Chalk one up for Target in the social responsibility department - providing free books to city kids!)

The best part of storytime for Margot? Her friend Caroline was there.

But aside from the free book and hanging with Caroline, Margot borrowed two books yesterday: Little Mouse Biddle Mouse and Caillou Hears a Noise.

Both books are problematic, but for different reasons. I wish I had read them before we checked them out. Little Mouse Biddle Mouse details a mouse's run through someone's kitchen and how the mouse licks the grease from the stove and tidbits from the spoons. The writing is nice, but the thought of a mouse licking my spoon completely disgusts me; this is definitely the result of the occasional mouse problems that we had in DC. I won't be suggesting we read this book very often - I'm ready to return it now.

The second book is even more problematic though.

Caillou Hears a Noise is based on one of Margot's favorite television characters, a small bald preschooler named Caillou (pronounced KAI-ew). I saw this book and knew she'd be excited to read about him, and so I checked it out without reviewing the story. As it turns out, the book describes how Caillou is trying to fall asleep but is convinced there are monsters in his room, so he cries for his mom and dad each time they turn out the lights. Eventually he realizes that the noises he hears are his cat, or a tree scratching against the window, or some other common house noise amplified by the dark. It's a nice story - for kids who already know about monsters and need some reassurance.

Margot, on the other hand, is an excellent sleeper who is not yet concerned with monsters. I certainly don't want to teach her to be afraid of the dark, and I definitely don't want to teach her to cry out during the night for me or Brodie.

Of course, in the 30 hours since we brought this book home, Margot has asked to read it no fewer than 50 times.

So I've resorted to making up a story based on the pictures that is a little less...well, influential.

Me: "Caillou's mommy comes to tuck in Caillou for bed and give him a kiss." I turn the page; there's a picture of a worried-looking Caillou turning on a flashlight.

Me: "Oh...uh, and then Caillou remembered that he received a flashlight as a gift so he turned it on in the dark to see how it works." Turn the page, and there's a picture of Caillou yelling and his mom looking in the closet [for monsters, according to the text].

Me: "And then...Caillou's mommy remembered she needed to iron Caillou's shirt for the party tomorrow so she went into his closet to get it." Turn the page, and there's a scared Caillou running from the bed.

Me: "Then Caillou took a little jog around the room to help himself fall asleep."

You get the idea.

I'm sure Margot is starting to think that Caillou is the lamest character ever. But she keeps asking for the book! Maybe she's just on to me and wants to see how many interpretations I can invent.

1 comment:

Mandy said...

Maybe the plot should revolve around Caillou being afraid of cleaning the house but realizing how wonderful it is at the end. ; )