Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Such a Good Story...or Two.

So....as I'm sure you know, because you follow every post I post with the vigor and vim of a toddler seeing snow for the first time, I have been using this December to search the world for crazy Christmas Traditions that would entertain us American's and remind us how lucky we are to live in a Nation where an overweight bearded man will creep down our chimneys and give us an x-box.  Well, all of this was to culminate today with David Sadaris' amazing Holiday Tale:  6 to 8 Black Men.  I don't know exactly what my plan was...was I going to plagiarize it? Summarize it?  Jazzersize it? Who knows. All I know now is that in my effort do whatever I was going to do, I found a Video of him reading that story by lamp light:  So whatever I was going to do it would never be as good as this:

And so what am I left with?  Now what?

A Story.

In my life I have come to learn the power of story.  I love to hear a good story and I love to tell one. My mother planted that seed when she would read to her "little boys" at night.  She had a Story Voice that was different then her Real Voice or even her Telephone Voice.  Her Story Voice was warm and rich and soft and lulling, coaxing you to dig in and listen or drift off to sleep.  She has always collected Children's Books and because of her, so do I.  There was always a hunt for a good story...pictures are very important to a children's book, but it takes time to sus out a great tale told well.

Perhaps my favorite book she ever discovered is a Christmas Story called, "Santa Calls" By William Joyce, who both illustrates and illuminates this story for young readers.

The Pictures are magic and full of details that you can catalogue as you are read the words, but it is the words that do the magic.  Joyce is unafraid to take a long time to tell you things that are important to his characters.  I know what you're thinking, when you see a full page of words in a Children's Book, but his voice is so matter-of-factly magic that once you get the ball rolling you will not stop.

The story is about two boys, Spaulding Little Feet, a young Comanche Brave and Art Acthinson Aimesworth, an inventor and adventure who also has a Sister, Ester. The three of them are called north to help Santa, though they don't know the reason.  The North Pole is more then you've ever imagined but exactly as it should be and my favorite character is Mrs Claus, a smart, pulled together (surprisingly skinny) woman, who would not stay behind as Santa heads off to do his yearly quest for the children of the world.

I hope that this last week before Christmas, you take every night to amaze and delight the little ones in your life with a wondrous tale either plucked from your a book or from your own life...and if you can't manage that...well, at least take 'em to 'Frozen', there is magic there too.

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