Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Run Run As Fast As You Can...

Run Run As Fast As You Can
You Can't Catch Me I'm The Gingerbread Man

I don't know when Callum started going round telling us this little saying but for as long as I can remember that boy of mine has loved Gingerbread Men! He especially loves the ones that have smarties as the buttons and if there is a choice of colours at the bakers it will always be the blue smarties buttons that gets chosen. I myself am not too keen on them, I think it's the ginger flavour.

But the story? Yes that's good and a grand lesson you learn... don't be a little twerp in life and you won't be eaten up be a clever fox. I'm actually quite glad when The Gingerbread Man gets gobbled up, I know I'm wicked, but when he comes down to the basics isn't that what a Gingerbread Man is for... and surely he does get his just desserts. I remember reading earlier this year and article in Junior magazine about Fairy Tales and how some parents change the endings, of the "horrible" bits in them. It reminded me of an episode of Desperate Housewives when Lynn joins in helping out with the school production, I can't remember at the moment which Tale it was, and the head Mum wanted to change part of it ... aah I think it may have been Hansel and Gretal, and there was no pushing of the Witch into the stove. Lynn didn't think they should change the end and says about how will children learn things in life if parents go around making everything charming and smelling of roses. It's a good point I think. Children are amazing in their ability to understand things and they have a completely different outlook on things than us adults do. A child needs to learn the lessons in life and at the end of the day Fairy Tales/Fables are about those things. There are sometimes when you do feel there is an undertone that is not child suitable but that's the adult way of looking at it and a child will in most cases look at it in a different way. An example I'll give is Snow White (and here comes my comic book geekness reference). For those that don't know there is an amazingly awesome comic called Fables, written by Bill Wittingham (I hope I spelt that right), it takes all the "Fables" characters and tells a story but with a twist and a clever one. A spin off from this ongoing series was a Hardback story called 1001 Nights of Snowfall. It's a parody (is that the right word to use I wonder) of 1001 Arabian Nights and the main character (one of my favourites) is Snow White. Like the original story she tells her tales and one of them is about her and Prince Charming and the Seven Dwarfs. I will warn you if you read this you will find it hard to see those cute little Disney Seven Dwarfs in the same light, but it is in its own way a good story. Now I'm not going to go and read this to Callum but I would still read him the Disney version of Snow White and he would I bet not see any of the undertones that are hinted at in the 1001 Nights of Snowfall (somehow that all makes sense in my head, hopefully it does written down).

However I think sometimes you do have to draw a line. I remember a couple years ago reading Callum the Kippling Jungle Book I'd bought for a bargain price in Woolworths. The film is Daz' favourite so I thought it was time to introduce the story to Callum. The Jungle Book story itself is fine but afterwards in the book it has some other short stories. One of these was called something like Little Seal/White Seal. It started off OK and then as it progressed it slowly went into detail about seal clubbing. To say I was shocked is an understatement. There I was reading this story and the next line to be read was about a seal being clubbed to death and how the white snow turned red. So yeah definitely some stories aren't for reading to children.

In the end I think it's up to the parents judgment and what they feel comfortable with. Personally I don't mind The Gingerbread Man being eaten or the Witch being pushed into the stove, but I do draw the line at seal clubbing.

Also I have to add... because this is what started off this post... when Callum and I went out today he asked if he could have a Gingerbread Man from the bakers. I said as long as he was good when we went to get his school uniform he could... so you can imagine how disappointed he was when we went to the first bakers and they had none... and then when we went to the second one they still had none. Not even the offer of going to Asda's and buying the box of mini ones or making some ourselves turned that frown to a smile. So I have to now remember to ask Daz if there are any Smarties Gingerbread Men near where he works. How can you run out of Gingerbread Men?!?!?

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