24 February 2008

Bedtime Stories

Winnie the Witch by Valerie Thomas, illus. by Korky Paul
Minerva Louise on Christmas Eve by Janet Morgan Stoeke
Space Boy by Leo Landry
Dog and Cat Make a Splash by Kate Spohn

A trend, if that's the correct word, that my daughter developed in the early days of bedtime stories, was to put herself into the stories. It started with Ian Falconer's Olivia. Clearly there was something about that "porcine wonder (apologies to Mercy Watson!) that she identified with. She asked that her name be used instead, and Olivia was never 'Olivia' in this house again. When I was a child I used to play act out my favorite books, and then scenes from chapter books, as I got older. Eventually I was no longer happy being part of someone else's story and began writing my own. But that initial incursion into beloved books was the first step in unlocking my own creativity.

'Daughter-as-character' made an appearance not once but twice this evening. Perhaps it was the unexpected appearance of a Christmas story (and she so loves Christmas,) but first she was that daft hen Minerva Louise. Even more impressive was the character swap involved in 'Dog and Cat', because she was reading that one to me. And she not only placed herself in that story, but she also found room for my husband and I, our next door neightbor, her favorite teddy bear, and her American Girl doll. So not only did she have to concentrate on reading the words correctly, but she had to keep all the charcters straight. And by golly, she did it! An impressive display, if I do say so myself. And a wonderful example of the maxim that "books can take you anywhere".

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