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Christy Catherine Marshall

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February 19, 2007

I was a sophomore in high school when Sarah, Plain and Tall was published, so I missed out on reading this delightful children’s book. I bought it for my girls for Christmas, and we found time over the cold, quiet weekend to read the book together.

What a beautiful story.

I won’t tell you about it — you can read a review here. But I wanted to tell you how interesting it was the way we responded to reading this book together. In this story, Sarah likes cats, and she likes to draw. My daughters and I talked about how nice Sarah must be, since she takes care of animals — and how God loves people who are kind to animals.

While I read, the girls got out some crayons and drew. My six-year-old drew a picture of our fluffy prodigal cat (who ran away but came home), and my nine-year-old drew a variety of little pictures.

When I finished Sarah, Plain and Tall (which was quite short, only 67 pages!), I felt like reading more — so I read the girls a couple of stories they’d written a year ago, when our hamster died. They loved hearing me read their own words, just like I’d read Patricia Maclachlan’s.

Then they each got busy writing something new — which they couldn’t wait for me to read. If you’ll indulge me a minute, here’s what they wrote (along with their pictures):

A Story of Briar Rose (by daughter, age 6)

One day, a little sweety pie named Briar Rose the great pie.
She is not really a pie, but we call her that because she’s really qute.
One day when Mama was reading Sarah Plain and Tall, Briar Rose interrupted my story I wrote when I was in kindergarten by doing something very qute.
She was in the side of the under the couch laying down.
Oh how she loved the warm air coming out of the vent.
Oh how I can’t stand how qute she was!
I could not even sit down because guess what Briar Rose sat down instead.
One time Briar Rose ran away from home. And did not come back for a very long time. We missed her so much. But one day she got sick, and had to come back. We took her to the vet and we saw our grandmother. She had a ear enfeckshen [the cat, not the grandmother] and she tilted her head when she walked. Now it is still tilted.
And still very qute.

(Oh, I almost hated to have to tell her that “cute” is spelled with a “c,” but the teacher in me must do these kinds of things.)

You Can Learn Your Pictures Too! (by daughter, age 9)

Practice these pictures. You can practice drawing, saying, writing, and find these pictures in places around your home. Try to find them in stores too!

Star, Rain, Teddy Bear, Flower, Blue Circle,
Ice Cream Cone, Grass, Rose, Pictures, Potato,
Milk, Juice, Water, Lake, Chick, Swan,
Snow Man, Rabbit, Grapes, Yellow Triangle,
Book, Ball, Jelly Biscuit, Punch, Shirt, Pants,
Skirt, Dress, Rocks, Inchworm, Hearts (Blue and Red)

What would we have missed, as a family, as a mother and daughters, if we’d watched TV instead? Since I can’t stand kid shows, I would have most likely been in a separate room doing my own thing, while they sat in front of the TV.

Or even if we’d watched a movie together, a good family movie, they still wouldn’t have responded with their own pieces of writing — I don’t think. Although watching movies together can be a good bonding activity, it still doesn’t even come CLOSE to the interactive joys of reading together.

I guess that’s why I’m so nuts about books!

I’d love to collect a bunch of parent/child literature responses like mine here — parents who read out loud to their children and experience something exciting — and then teach a workshop of some sort (when my kids are older).

In contrast, here’s an article from today’s Scottsman’s News: Children’s TV is Linked to Cancer, Autism, Dementia. Yes, TV does more to our children than make them fat and lazy; it can damage their minds and bodies.

Read with your children!!! 🙂

By: Heather Ivester in: Cats,Children's Books,Education,Family | Permalink | Comments Off on Two Responses to Sarah, Plain and Tall

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