Saturday, March 08, 2008

Barak and books

1. Purim is coming up. Not as soon as I thought--it's a week from this Friday, whereas I had somehow gotten it in my head that it was this Friday. Anyway, Barak is learning at school about Esther ha'Malka and King Achasueros and bad bad Haman. Earlier this week, he found a Purim book (courtesy of Grandma E and the book sale) on the shelf and brought it to me. We looked at the picture on the cover.

"Barak, who's that?"

"I sink dat's Esther ha'Malka."

"Right! And who's that?"

He wasn't sure, but we decided it was Mordechai. Ditto for King Acha--oh, however you pronounce it. And then there was Haman.

"Is Haman so mean?"

"Yeah!"

"But Esther is nice, right?"

"Right. Also Mordechai is nice."

"Right."

Pause.

Then, sagely: "But dey're not really real. Dey're only puppets."

2. My husband likes comic books. He used to like them the way I like yarn; now he just likes them. Anyway, there was a graphic novel sitting on our kitchen table last week, and Barak picked it up. I looked at it over his shoulder and made a mental note that it should vanish; it was something creepy about Norse deities and Hitler and changing the course of the war and whatever. Yecch. Barak, naturally, was entranced.

"Imma, what's dat?" I looked. Picture of Jews on a train platform, circa 1942.

"Those are Yidden."

"What are they doing?"

"I think they're getting on the train."

"Oh."

Okay, that was easy enough. Then he saw a picture of some Nazis.

"Imma, who are dose?"

Sigh.

"Those are Amalek, sweetie."

"Who's Amalek?"

"Amalek are mean people who don't like Yidden."

"Dey hurt da Yidden?"

"They used to. But then Hashem took them away."

"Like the dinosaurs?"

"Kind of like that." We can always hope, right?

Then he turned the page, and there, of course, was a picture of Hitler.

"Imma, who's dat?"

"Who do you think that is?"

"I sink hiss a policeman." The hat and all, you know.

"He's kind of a policeman. But he was an Amaleki policeman. Not nice at all."

"Did Hashem take him away?"

"Yes."

"Oh."

"Barak, how about if we read something else? How about Green Eggs and Ham?"

"Kay."

3. A couple of months ago I needed another $5 or so to get Super Saver shipping on Amazon, so I got a copy of Mr. Popper's Penguins. Truly a great work, and I am not being even a little bit facetious--it's totally cute and so funny and so well written. I've been reading it to Barak. I don't have any cute stories to regale you with on that front--this is more of a PSA that if you haven't read it lately, you should. But remember to explain to the child you read it to that just because penguins can slide down stairs on their tummies doesn't mean that people should. Kay? Kay.

5 comments:

miriamp said...

I think my kids started that sliding down the stairs on their tummies thing before they read that book. sigh. especially when wearing one-piece pajamas, although I think I've finally convinced them to at least go feet first!

LC said...

Mmm. No one slides down the stairs here except on their bottoms, sitting up, but we have fairly steep steps (9" rise) and uncovered wooden steps.

My oldest read Mr. Popper's Penguins in 4th grade for school - I love his teacher, she does some really cool books with them; he goes to bed, and I read his books-for-school. . . . maybe that's why the dishes don't always get done so quickly?

miriamp said...

CD (my fourth grader) brought home Frindle, and Aaron and I stole it from her to read. And MY (the 5th grader) made me read "Where the Red Fern Grows" the night before he had to give it back... nothing (housework related) got done that night! So I at least think it's normal to umm, borrow our kids' reading assignment books.

LC said...

>So I at least think it's normal >to umm, borrow our kids' reading >assignment books.

Only when the teacher assigns GOOD books. Frindle got read in school in 3rd grade - *all* Andrew Clements' stuff is good.

Yasmin said...

My 10-year-old boy insisted I read "Matilda." I'd read other Roald Dahl books, but not this one. It's very good.

I read Mr. Popper for the first time about 5 years ago, standing up in Barnes & Noble. I didn't have money to buy it. Maybe I should check it out of the local library and see if The Boy, who is in 4th grade, likes it. He's well into "young adult" reading but still enjoys some of the younger kids' books.

BTW, what was the title of that graphic novel? I'm curious...