Monday, February 14, 2011

Cautionary Tales

While Sarita and I were in Kotzebue this past Christmas, we passed some time organizing and going through old photos, artwork, pictures, and books. One of the books that I tend to gravitate towards each time we visit is Struwwelpeter: Fearful Stories and Vile Pictures to Instruct Good Little Folks, written by Dr. Heinrich Hoffmann and illustrated by Sarita Vendetta. Sarita was kind enough to get me this book for my birthday along with The Gashlycrumb Tinies, by Edward Gorey, a grim abecedarian of rhyming couplets, as well as Slovenly Betsy, also by the good Dr. Hoffmann.

While Sarita and I like to amuse ourselves by reading cautionary tales for children, we have been waiting patiently for an opportunity to share these lovely adventures with actual children. Well, the other day two of our little neighbors came over to play for a while in the evening--two girls aged 7 and 3. Since Sarita was entertaining herself by working on her thesis introduction, I took it upon myself to entertain our guests. Aside from playing Killer Bunnies, we also found time to read some of the stories from Struwwelpeter. But the book that really got their attention was The Gashlycrumb Tinies, which we read in its entirety. At first I started reading the books as a joke and I didn't think the girls would like them, but we talked about the morals of the stories and they loved them. I'll have to ask their dad what he thought of their new-found interest in reading when they showed him some of their favorite drawings (shown below)! I admit that I had forgotten how graphic some of the pictures are!

Hopefully our kids someday will be just as interested in reading these stories together.

On another note, Sarita got a wonderful book for me for Valentine's Day that was written by someone who was in one of her reading endorsement classes with her. It is entitled The UnValentine. We'll have to read this one with the girls next time.