Monday, January 26, 2015

There Are Three Stories in Every Book

489 days ago, Molly and I started our read aloud streak. We decided that we were going to try to read aloud together for 100 days. Well, we did that and kept on going. We are 11 days away from hitting 500 days. In that time, we have read 25 books together. We have met talking mice and a smiling dog. We have met crickets and a pig named Beryl. We have walked the streets of London with a nanny with a flying umbrella, and a wizard that wasn't quite as powerful as we first thought. We have been to a chocolate factory and Times Square. We have walked through museums and have traveled through time. These last 489 days have really been a great experience.

Every book you read has three stories, the one that the author actually writes, the background story of how the book came to be, and then there is the story that the reader brings to the book. Right now Molly and I are reading Winnie-the-Pooh.

Molly and I have never read it. In fact, Molly has never seen the Disney movie. I couldn't believe it when she told me, because I have memories of Shannon and Timmy watching it all the time. When they were little, they had a kid couch with Winnie-the-Pooh fabric on it. The nursery in our house was Winnie-the-Pooh and as I had each baby, they went into the nursery and the older sibling moved into their "big kid" bedroom. How did Molly never see the Winnie-the-Pooh movie? 
So before we started reading the book, I shared a little background story with Molly about A. A. Milne. I told her that Christopher Robin was his son, that he was not just a character in the story, but a real boy. I found out that Christopher Robin's real toys are all on display at the New York City library, all of them except for Roo because Christopher Robin had lost Roo in a meadow. How sad is that? And then today we read:

Kanga was frightened at first because Piglet was in her pocket and not Roo. And then we read, "...for she felt quite sure that Christopher Robin would never let any harm happen to Roo."

But Molly and I know the background story, we know that Roo DID get lost in a meadow. We know that all of Christopher Robin's childhood friends are in the New York City library, except for Roo. This made us so sad.

Molly and I planned to go to New York this weekend. There is a children's book exhibit at The Grolier Club that is only there until February 7th. There are 100 children's books on display from the past 400 years. They are first editions of Grimm's Fairytales, The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, and Winnie-the-Pooh, just to name a few. Our plan is to go into the city to see these original first edition books and then swing by the library to see Winnie-the-Pooh and all his friends. You see, there are three stories of Winnie-the Pooh, the actual story in the book, the story of the real Christopher Robin, and then there is OUR story, mine and Molly's. 

Now as I write this, New York is under blizzard warnings. Some forecasts are saying they could get up to 20-30 inches. Molly and I are really hoping that they don't get that much and that we can still make it to New York this weekend. We know that whatever NY gets, they will do a better job of clearing the snow than we do here in Virginia. We are almost finished with Winnie-the-Pooh and then we are moving on to The House at Pooh Corner. The Disney Winnie-the-Pooh movie just arrived and Molly's plan is to watch it during the car ride up to NY on Friday. Hopefully the blizzard won't stop us and we will be trudging through snow covered streets of New least it makes for a good story.


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