22 August 2007

Bedtme Stories

Cordurouy (Freeman, Dan)
Cat Traps (Coxe, Molly)
Dimity Dumpty (Graham,Bob)

It's a mixture of classic and contemporary tonight (well, last night by the time of this writing!) When we settled down to read, I realized we had plenty of time for an extra story and found a copy of Corduroy on my daughter's bookshelf (and, really, everyone should be able to find a copy of Corduroy on their shelf.) But it was Dimity Dumpty that really caught my attention. In telling the story of Humpty Dumpty's little sister, it joins a long tradition of fractured fairy tales. Just this year alone I can think of Lisa Ernst's The Gingerbread Girl, and Mini Grey's The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon. Graham has envisioned a story where the Dumpty's are tumblers in a circus, all except Dimity who is shy and prefers to stay out of the spotlight. Humpty's great fall comes about because he is a rascally tagger. The King's Men are a couple of paratroopers stationed in a nearby barracks who take little pity on the cracked Humpty because he is "only an egg". It's not clear from the story why they are stationed in the small town where the Dumptys are currently performing, but their presence in camo fatigues and their callous disregard for damage to the locals, was a bit jarring when I first read it (but they make up for it later with a bedside visit to the recuperating Humpty.) It is only Dimity's fast thinking and bravery that saves her brother from leaking away. Interesting, but slightly odd.

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