The other night the Budza read Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese's The Story about Ping out loud to me. It was so weird to hear the familiar words I'd read, and read to him, so many times, in his voice. When he was much younger, he memorized the text to his then favorite book, Michael O'Tunnell's Halloween Pie , but it was a rote recital, not reading. I think Ping, with a lot of other books from my 1960s childhood, doesn't pass muster by today's p.c. standards, but the words and images are engraved on my brain, the striped shadows Ping sees from under the basket, the metal rings on the necks of the fishing cormorants, the eyes painted on the boats. I always wondered why the Yangtze River was yellow, if the artist painted it blue.
His second grade teacher, Ms. F., is reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory aloud to the class during snack time. They are as far as Agustus Gloop's unceremonious ascent into the chocolate pipe. As I poured Budza some blueberry smoothie the other day I thought of the pleasures that awaited him once he got to the fate of gum-chewing Violet. He's seen the more recent movie, but seems to have developed some amnesia about it, and is enjoying the book.
His assignment for Ms. F. is to read a mystery, and to write a report and make a shoebox diorama. He's chosen an A-Z mystery by Ron Roy, The Missing Mummy and I think I'm possibly more excited about this than he is.