Friday, April 13, 2007

Sillier than Benjamin

Michael Chabon is not the only fan of Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire. As much as I loved the Greek and Norse myths they collected, retold, and illustrated, I loved their biographies. I still have my beautiful versions of them from childhood: large, lavishly illustrated hardback books, with vivid full-color lithographs on every page and lots text. I have George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Pocahontas, and Abraham Lincoln. I remember reading them over and over to myself when I was six or seven. Although she is only four, I have occasionally read them to my daughter.

When I do, I wonder what she makes of them. She’s so very little, what of these stories captures her imagination?

Well, I got a glimpse the other day when she saw a dollar bill lying next to her piggy bank on the changing table shelf.

“Mama, is that Benjamin Franklin?”

“No, honey, it’s not but that’s a very good guess. It’s George Washington and he was a friend of Benjamin Franklin.” (I wince inwardly at that “friend”, but how else to put it to a four-year-old? “Colleague” seems pretentious and equally inaccurate. “Ally”? “Compatriot”? How, really, to be articulate with her whilst changing her sister’s diaper?) “George Washington,” I add, “was the first President of the United States.”

“What was Benjamin President of?”

“Well, nothing, honey. He worked hard to make the United States into a country.”

“Well, I know someone who’s even sillier than Benjamin.”

?

“ABRAHAM LINCOLN! Can we read that book tonight?”

So we did. As I read along (it takes a good half hour to read the whole book aloud--and that is surely part of the appeal of these books for any child eager to stave off bedtime), I found the “silly” part: it seems that when Lincoln was a rapidly growing young man, his stepmother joked that she was perfectly able to mop the floors of his muddy footprints but he’d best keep his head clean as she was not tall enough to wipe the ceiling. So, to tease her, he took a muddy-footed young friend, held him upside down and had him make footprints across the ceiling. “Abraham, I ought to thrash you!” his stepmother said with a laugh. And then, good boy that he was, he got a bucket of whitewash and cleaned the ceiling for her.

Definitely sillier than Benjamin.

3 comments:

Zanny said...

Interesting post. Being a book lover yourself you will benefit from this book portal.

Anonymous said...

What do you know maple mesos. And do you want to know? You can get mesos here. And welcome to view our website, here you can play games, and you will get cheap mesos to play game. I know maplestory mesos, and it is very interesting.Do you want a try, come and view our website, and you will learn much about maple story mesos. Come and join with us. We are waiting for your coming.

Do want to know the magic of online games, and here you can get more Metin2 gold. Do you want to have a try? Come on and Metin2 yang can make you happy.You can change a lot Cheap metin2 yang for play games. And you will enjoy yourself at the sametime. Playing online games can make much Cheap metin2 gold. Come and have a try. You will feel a different feeling. And you can Buy metin2 gold do what you want to do in the online game.

Anonymous said...

aion chinaaion china gold,
aion cn goldaion chinese gold,
aion gold chinaaion gold chinese,
china aion goldchinese aion gold,
aion china kinaaion chinese kina,
aion kina chinachina aion kina,
aion china buybuy aion china,
aion chinese server

gold
aion cn server

gold
,
aion china server goldchina aion server gold,
chinese aion server

gold
aion chinese server

gold
,
aion cn server kinaaion china server kina,
china aion server kinachinese aion server kina