Saturday, March 21, 2020

Spooky stories

When I sat down to order a few books for my children last week, I'll admit that I somewhat selfishly selected some classics from my own childhood. Stories that I knew would bring back feelings of comfort and familiarity to me (with the added bonus of being able to introduce my children to these stories). Plus, I mean, older books tend to be a bit easier on the wallet than newer books are (as long as they aren't too old because then they get pricey again).

One of the books that I got was a collection of Robert Munsch stories.

Zoë thinks that his name is just plain silly (because there is no need for the 's' in his name) but that his stories are even sillier. At least, that's what she thought yesterday when we read through three of his stories that were new to her (we had a few of his stories in our library already). Today, however, we got to the story A Promise is a Promise.

This story is...not funny.

Kind of like how Mo Willems writes a lot of things like Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and We Are In A Book! which are completely silly but also manages to churn out things like Knuffle Bunny and City Dog, Country Frog, which will make you tear up when you read them, Munsch (with the superfluous 's') can be serious at times as well. He can make you laugh—he often makes you laugh—but he can also make you cry with I Love You Forever or he can make you shiver with fear with A Promise is a Promise.

The story tells of the Qallupilluit, Inuit folk-creatures who live beneath the surface of the sea ice waiting to snatch away children foolish enough to wander away from their parents. The protagonist of our story manages to get herself pulled under the ice but promises to bring her brothers and sisters to the Qallupilluit in exchange for her life, so they let her go. Obviously she begins to feel guilty about this but her parents hatch a scheme to keep the Qallupilluit so occupied that they will forget take the children when they go to the sea ice unattended, as promised.

Everything works out at the end (for the humans) but it's a very, very scary in the middle (for the humans)!

And it just so happens that there are five children in the story—three girls and two boys!

So I pointed them out and said, "Look! Here's Rachel and Miriam and Benjamin and Zoë and Alex."

Alexander, who was kneeling next to me (I was laying on my stomach reading stories to the kids) gasped out, "NO!" and then fell completely backwards in a dead faint (making a sickening crack on the floor (our carpet is...thin)).

"Oh, Alex!" I said, scooping him off the carpet. "Are you okay? What did you do that for?"

"I am not in bat boot!" he said melodramatically.

"No. You're not in that book. Momma's just being silly."

"Bat's not biwwee!" he said. Then he shivered, "Bat's behwee!"

"Oh, okay. You're right. It's not silly. It's scary. I'm sorry. I won't say you're in the book anymore, okay?"

"Okay," he said, pointing to the baby in the picture. "Betuz bat's not me."

"No. It's not you. You're right here beside me. You're not in the book at all."

So very glad I could give my children the memory of being isolated in our home during a global pandemic, reading them spooky stories. Once in a lifetime opportunity, really (I hope).

1 comment:

  1. How did I miss this? Now I need to go back and be sure I read everything!