Friday, July 3, 2009

My kids are growing up literarily unsheltered!

Kiernan's nightly routine involves putting on his pyjamas, brushing his teeth, then the reading of two books chosen from his overflowing bookcase (courtesy of the garage-saling prowess of my mother-in-law). The lights then get turned off, then comes another story - when it got dark earlier it was projected onto the wall but this time of year it's "stories from daddies head" - followed by a song, water, hugs, and a kiss. Finally it's "Get out the door now daddy."

The stories from my head fall under two categories. Either Kiernan asks "I want the story about the zebra on the swings." and I get to make up something involving said zebra, or he asks for a classic nursery rhyme.

Some may know I dislike the politically-correct versions of nursery rhymes these days, so when I tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood, the Big Bad Wolf wants to eat Red and not just her basket of goodies, grandma gets eaten and not just hidden in the closet. The woodsman slices the wolf open to extract grandma, then they fill him with rocks and toss him into a lake. Time to go back to the cottage to enjoy the basket of goodies, hurray!

A few weeks ago one of the books pulled off the shelf was a copy of Little Red Riding Hood published in 1995. If it was bowdlerized at all, it was going to get one reading then be given away. Fortunately, it was the best version of Little Red Riding Hood yet, despite being written in the past two decades.

Grandma AND Red Riding Hood get eaten alive. The wolf takes a post-lunch nap when the woodsman happens by to cut them out. There's an illustration of the wolf sliced from neck to groin, and another with happy-go-lucky Red gathering stones in the forest. There's no lake, however - the wolf just wakes up, attempts escape, and becomes so weighed down by the stones he dies just yards from the cottage. The pièce de résistance is the final photo of Grandma and Riding hood happily enjoying cookies:

I have to admit that when stories-from-my-head is the Three Little Pigs I end it at the wolf giving up and going home, simply for brevity's sake (with screaming twins overwhelming mommy downstairs, often stories are speedy). The story is supposed to continue on with the Big Bad Wolf attempting to lure the pig out to pick turnips, apples, and to go to the fair, and finally attempting to climb down the chimney. Some books still include the chimney - the pigs manage to light a fire and he runs off with his tail smoking, never to return again.

To get the best stories you have to search the shelves for the books published in the 50s and 60s. Here for my your enjoyment is the best two page spread of the Three Little Pigs ever.

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs