“…For it has no virtue that we know of, save perhaps to sweeten a fouled air, or to drive away some passing heaviness.”

Animal Tales! and saints and prophets

Filed under: Learning Notes — November 29, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

I think I mentioned that Paddy finished the James Herriot Animal Treasury.  Since then I have been hunting around the house, and a little online, for books about animals, particularly animal/human relationships, and it’s better if the book has cute pictures.

Yesterday I found the Peter Rabbit Treasury and he read that.

Then yesterday evening I got out the old Clare Turlay Newberry picture books.   They are totally a feast of cute kitties, puppies and bunnies.  Paddy immersed himself in them and took photos of all his favorite pictures.

I have transferred Meph the Pet Skunk to his kindle.   It is meant for an older boy than Paddy, I think.  The boy in the story is about 14.  Still, it is simply written, and basically happy in tone.     Some animal stories, you know, have sad parts, and I don’t think he wants to read about the sad part of having an animal friend, not yet.

Meanwhile, I will be searching our shelves today for all those heartwarming stories of animals and their human friends that I know we have on hand somewhere.  He has already read the Thornton Burgess books to tatters.  Maybe a good time to bring out E B White?

Today is, surprise, stormy and foggy.   There is nothing quite like huge 100 foot sugar pines and incense cedars moving their stately green-fringed arms in response to unseen forces.    If we had Ents as majestic as those conifers, California  ought to fear a little, because I am sure they wouldn’t be too happy about some of the things going on in this state.   And right now they look like they could very easily pull loose of the ground.

I read Paddy the story of Mohammed from Famous Men of the Middle Ages.  We got partway through, hearing about Mohammed’s good personal qualities, how honest he was, etc, and then Paddy figured out that Mohammed wasn’t Christian.  “Why are we reading about him, then?:  he demanded.  I don’t think that was really what he wanted to know, because we read about pagan heroes quite a bit, and he follows the adventures of several superheroes who are at least secular, or maybe he was asking a general philosophical question about why we read a bio of anyone, indeed.    Which isn’t quite as easy to answer off the cuff in a few words as one might think, as I found.

When we read the first chapter of St Anthony and the Christ Child, he remarked that it was strange that everyone was Christian in the story and no one was persecuting them!  He had been reading a book of saints on his own where the bulk of the stories are of Roman martyrs.    I thought that was an interesting light into his mind.

We finished the preface of Madam How and Lady Why.   Paddy does not seem too impressed yet.  He couldn’t narrate the first part about “Eyes and No-Eyes”.  He said something like, “Two boys went through the fields to see an old man.”  Seeing that he had missed the point, I slowed down to discuss a bit.   After we proceeded to the next section, where the tone becomes quite moral, he nodded his head gravely every two sentences, as if he were listening to an improving sermon.  I couldn’t tell if he really connected or just felt like it was the right way to respond.   I suspect the latter!  Nine year old boys are an odd grab-bag.   They go from heroic forbearance to letting it all out emotionally and shouting at a frustrating older brother with tears in their eyes; or at least, this one does!

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