Friday, February 12, 2016

A Few Remarks on Little House in the Big Woods and Beyonce

I've started reading Little House in the Big Woods to Zuzu. I've been pleasantly surprised with her attention to the book that doesn't have many pictures. What has also been SUPER adorable lately is how much she is into "reading" books herself, or reading them out loud to Coco. She sticks pretty close to the plot and sometimes even remembers the rhyming words in Madeline. And there's nothing like discovering her curled up with a book to basically make my heart explode.

I read the Little House books so many times when I was a kid, yet somehow I failed to recall that the first sixty pages of LHITBW is about killing and butchering a pig (I did remember the part about playing with its bladder), killing a bear, cleaning Pa's gun, and making new lead bullets.

SO.... Yeah. I was waiting to let Zuzu ask me questions, which she never did, but after thinking about comments on this post, I figure that I needed to start a conversation with her.

Last night, we had a conversation that went like this:

Me: Do you know what bullets do?

Zuzu: No.

Me: Do you know what guns are for?

Zuzu: Yes. They shoot things. To make them dead.

Me: (flustered) Uh, oh, um, okay. Yup! That's right! So...

We talked about what to do if she saw a gun, but it was clear to me she doesn't understand the difference between a toy gun and a real gun, so obviously this is a topic we'll need to revisit. Who knew Little House in the Big Woods would open up these conversations?

Maybe for some additional context, I'll show her Beyonce's "Formation" video (which is so kick ass I can't stop watching it) and we can discuss the symbolism of the little boy dancing in front of a row of law enforcement in riot gear.

Ok, the video is not really appropriate for the preschool crowd, but I really am kind of obsessed with it and all the Southern gothic imagery, and my friend Kristin sent me this article about it, which is really great.

Definitely not my party, but I still appreciate how cool it is.

(Also the part about Adele throwing white girls a party and how much Midwesterners love ranch dressing made me laugh.)

I also really love the conversations that happened in the comments on the post about the watergun at the playground. Sometimes the internet seems to be full of hateful anonymous people, but you guys are best.


  1. I've been reading The Long Winter to my kids this winter. My kids too have been very interested in the story and it has started many interesting conversations. Have you seen the My First Little House books? They're short picture books of stories taken from The Little House collection. They're a great compliment to the chapter books.

    1. We have a couple of those books, which is what helped me decide to try the big book. They are really beautifully illustrated, and I like how the illustrations are pretty true to the originals.

  2. Thank you for linking to that article about the Formation video! Hilarious and so very right. And while I failed to get my older two to sit and listen to LHITBW when they were in the 2-4 age range, I'm inspired anew to try again with my youngest.

  3. I read that book to my girls recently too. I edited out the parts about how jealous Laura was of Mary's blonde hair, though. I have one daughter with blonde hair and one with darkening blonde/brown hair. No need for a complex just yet. Ha!

    1. I also had to edit out a song Pa sings that's totally racist!