Sunday, March 14, 2021

Literally Literary

I was reading Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions to the kids the other day and the "H for Hausa" page informed us that they "are called to prayer five times each day. A strong voice rings out like a song, changing, 'Allah is great...'" and I supplemented the text with my own rendition of the call to prayer: "Allahu akbar!"

"Oh, I know that from Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns!" Zoë said. 

She is very good at making literary connections. Her world has simply exploded with happiness since she learned how to read. 

Yesterday Rachel and Miriam were teasing Zoë and she was getting so upset that eventually I told her that I thought her sisters were pulling her leg. This was rewarded with a blank stare. 

"Oh. Do you know what that means?" I asked.

"I do, actually," she said. "It means that they’re joking about something."

"How do you know that?!"

"Well," she began, "In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Grandpa Joe tells Charlie about Mr. Willy Wonka and the Indian prince who had a palace entirely made of chocolate and Mr. Willy Wonka said that he had to eat it up right after it was built but the prince said, 'I am not going to eat my palace! I’m going to live in it!' But Mr. Willy Wonka was right because there came a very hot day and the palace started to melt. The prince was sleeping—was dozing—in the living room and then he woke up and found himself swimming in a pool of melted chocolate. And, Charlie said, 'Are you pulling my leg?' And Grandpa Joe said no. He was telling the truth. And that’s how I know the truth is the opposite of pulling someone’s leg."

We were all rather taken aback by her elaborate answer and spent the rest of dinner listening to her tell us all about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. She's also read Matilda.

"You should read James and the Giant Peach next," Andrew told her.

"Well, I kind of like these funny, silly stories that I've been reading," Zoë said. 

"James and the Giant Peach is silly. Roald Dahl wrote it, too," Andrew told her.

"Too?" she asked, perking up. "Do you mean he wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as well?"

"Yes. And Matilda."

"Oh! I really like this author then!" she said.

Which I think is great! He was one of my favourite authors when I was a kid, too. I did a book report on him in grade five and got an A++++++ (or something like that). I printed it out on pink paper because my mom had inherited several reams of pink paper from...somewhere...and that was all we had for a long time. I think I still have it in a box somewhere.

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