Friday, September 14, 2007

Preparation for The Waste Land

from Carolyn

Pete Takes after His Parents:

Pete is obsessed with his first literary allusion. It's the framed picture on the wall in Goodnight Moon that reproduces in black and white a colorful illustration from Runaway Bunny. He holds both books in his lap, both open to the correct pages, and looks back and forth. He wouldn't hand them over, last night, and I left him in his crib, in a room too dark for him to really see the illustrations, still marveling at seeing a picture long-familiar in once context (the oft-read Goodnight Moon, newly discovered in another (the more-recently-added-to-our-collection Runaway Bunny).

Speaking of Goodnight Moon, Pete is obsessed with the "old lady whispering hush." When I used to read this book to him every night, he never noticed her. But now that we're reading it regularly again, she's the main focus for him. When we're looking at the pages where she doesn't appear, he always (ALWAYS) asks where she is. In some cases, where the picture depicts the room in such a way that she is simply out of the range of the illustration, I point to a place off of the page where she would appear if the illustration were larger. He's started to do that, too. But he's still unnerved about where she is when the book begins (and her chair is vacant) and ends (when it is vacant again). We talk about how she's probably doing the dishes at the end (since that's what I do after I put Pete to bed), and he'll sometimes suggest that's where she is, but I don't think he's convinced. Her comings and goings really seems to puzzle him. Goodnight nobody, indeed.

I think I should write an essay about all the disturbing things about the books we read to Pete. Like Harold and the Purple Crayon. Being and Nothingness for the toddler set is what that is.

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