Saturday, May 31, 2008

My Own Two Feet and Cold Feet

During a random library search this week, I picked up what I thought were two children's biography books.

The first was a picture book biography, suitable I thought for my kids ages 6 & 8. "Cold Feet" story by Cynthia DeFelice. I liked the story because it was about a Scottish man who plays the bagpipes.

I began reading the story to the kids and quickly it appeared rather grim. The bagpiper is wandering around in the forest, in the winter, and his feet are frozen. "Luckily" he stumbles upon a body of a dead man with good shoes. Unfortunately the man's feet are frozen into the shoes - but "luckily" as bagpiper drops the man's feet down - the feet break off from the legs and so he takes the shoes w/the feet still in them and goes along on his merry way. Yikes!

A grouchy farmer lets him spend the night in his barn with his cow and to get back at the grouchy farmer, the bagpiper removes the now thawed feet from the good shoes and puts them on. He puts the thawed feet into his old bedraggled shoes and places one in the cows mouth so the farmer with think the cow ate the bagpiper.

See I said it was all pretty grim. I kept thinking - well something good has to happen this is a true story...maybe he'll meet up with the dead man's family who'll recognize his shoes and they'll have "peace" in knowing what happened to him.

Well I had almost finished reading the book to the kids when I finally realized ummm this is not a child's biography book - it must have been filed incorrectly - b/c next thing a ghost appears wanting his feet back. I skipped the end of the story and we quickly went on to something else.

I know some kids like scary stories like this and I know I did as a kid (minus the ghost part) - but I sure wasn't prepared for this book. And my kids DO NOT like these kind of stories. I guess I need to better review the stories before I begin reading them to the kids.

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A much better book (and it really is a biography) is "My Own Two Feet" a memoir by Beverly Cleary. Beverly Cleary is the author of much-loved books such as Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Ralph S. Mouse, The Mouse and the Motorcyle, Henry and the Paper Route etc.

I have enjoyed reading this memoir. The book deals primarily with Beverly's years at college and her work as a children's librarian. Beverly, an only child, grew up around the time of the Depression. Her parents didn't have much money - but they did have enough to partially pay for her college education (supplemented by Beverly working and $ from her grandfather).

It wasn't always easy coming up with the money Beverly needed for college or for a place to live - but she persevered. She had a mature attitude about her future and her education.

I didn't realize until I was almost finished reading "My Own Two Feet", that Beverly also wrote a book about her life prior to college. It sounds interesting - so I have it reserved at the library.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I had a good chuckle as you were relating this story ! Definitely not for children !

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