On the way out of the library yesterday, my daughter grabbed this book off of a display shelf.
A little too young for a two-and-a-half-year old, but Hey, I thought. It’s history. And I can read it to my four (so close to five) year old.
I convinced Mr. B to forsake his Ninjago comic book tonight for what I suspected to be a tame piece of historical biography. (And because I’m really tired of those Lego ninjas.) This is how the storytelling goes: I focus on the words; he focuses on the pictures. I’m always surprised by what he sees, or rather, what he doesn’t miss.
So as we turned the pages, Mr. B asked a lot of questions about the pictures:
Why is Abraham Lincoln so tall?
What does he put in that huge hat?
What does it mean to be the president?
And then things got more complicated.
Why does that man (Frederick Douglas) look so angry?
What are slaves?
Why are all the slaves little kids?
And finally, Why did that man shoot Abraham Lincoln?
Did that man go to Heaven with Abraham Lincoln?
At least I can say I checked a few boxes off for his future history teacher.
Now Mr. B knows all a four-year-old needs to know about slavery. He hates white people. He understands why Frederick Douglas was so angry. (Luckily, I was able to persuade him not to hate white people, because they realize now that they made big mistakes.)
No, I never knew Abraham Lincoln personally. He lived way before me. Before Grandmom, before Mum-mum, before Mum-mum’s mom, and before Mum-mum’s mom’s mom.
The man who killed Abraham Lincoln (John Wilkes Booth, not Lee Harvey Oswald, which, I’ll admit, took me about fifteen seconds) may or may not be in Heaven with Lincoln. Some people believe bad people go to a different place.
“With the dinosaurs? Dinosaurs were bad.”
Sure. With the dinosaurs.
But that can’t happen to a president anymore. Now there are security guards who surround President Obama and protect him.
“Do they have swords or guns?”
I sighed. Guns.
And then we closed the book and Mr. B told me I should have skipped the bad parts, that now those pictures were stuck in his head. So I sang him “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and added some nicer pictures. All the kids fly up to the sky and eat M&Ms and chocolate milk and dance around the moon and play Sonic the Hedgehog video games.
The end, goodnight.
This is yet another Momalom 5 for 5 post. Today’s theme is “Pictures.”