Saturday, 5 March 2011

Ragout d'araignée

I am going to try and post every day for a while to see if it gets me back in the swing of things. It will be tedious and probably short-lived, you are warned.


1. We went on an old skool style Saturday trip 'into town': new, viciously expensive boring trainers for elder child, worthy reading books for smaller child, several hours loitering in the FNAC, McDonalds, then Rango (extraordinary, quite peculiar but beautiful). In my childhood, any single one of these events would have been considered sufficient entertainment for a full weekend (and McDonalds was entirely outlawed). But no, this catalogue of decadence was followed up with hot dogs and Total Wipeout. I'd come over a bit John Knox if I could be arsed, but I can't, I'm tired. I've had to spend the rest of the day throwing balls for the dog, who was feeling abandoned. Tomorrow we are going to see the new Studio Ghibli Borrowers, which pleases me, but I suspect will bore Fingers rigid. Lashes will stage whisper 1950s domestic ephemera to me throughout I expect, because of 2 (below).

2. Lashes got a copy of "Le Guide des Castors Juniors" (some kind of Francophone stealth scouts) with his Picsou magazine and has been giving me helpful suggestions all evening.

L: Eh, maman. If you need to get bloodstains out, you can use fine grained salt, or soluble aspirin.

E: Er, thanks. Out of what?

L: If you save the old oil from your deep fat fryer, you can give a teaspoon a week to your cactuses.

E: I have neither deep fat fryer nor cactus but will keep that in mind.

L: If you get an insect bite in your mouth, you should gargle with salty water and consult a doctor.

E: Good to know. Any tips on how to remove a stubborn cork from a bottle of €3 cava?

L: There is a recipe for homemade syrup?

E: I suppose that will have to do.

3. Galliano vest man was on my tram on the way home: I wonder how he is dealing with recent events. He was wearing python effect leather trousers so tight they were more like leggings, and his hair was taking up enough space for 3 passengers. Interestingly (it's all relative, shush), he was wearing a jacket, when normally he wears his vest with pride, which gives you some idea of how stupidly COLD it is. I am always pleased to see him. He and the tragically occasional bitchy assymetric hair shop boy always brighten my journey.

4. I found a French version of John Burningham's 'Would you rather' today, which was fun. Both my children would like to be swallowed by a fish rather than the far better option of being gobbled up by a crocodile. One of them would prefer "ragout d'araignée" (which I agree, almost manages to sound pleasant, far nicer than spider stew) and the other "jus d'escargot" (again, sounds like a plausible menu item and less icky than snail shake).

This has made me terribly nostalgic for Apple Pigs. Did anyone else have this 70s marvel about what a household does with a glut of apples? I LOVED. I don't suppose the children would much love, I did not have great results with Amos & Boris or Miss Jaster's Garden. and they were roundly appalled by The Tale of Samuel Whiskers, even though that picture of Samuel rolled in the dough remains one of my all time favourites:

Any successes introducing your favourite books to your children, those of you who have any? Or are they just humouring you?

There, this debate can be my contribution to World Book Day, which I am sure was otherwise languishing without me.


Patience_Crabstick said...

I thought one of the best things about being a mother would be to read aloud to my kids all my own favorite childhood books. For the most part, my children have not appreciated my efforts. They all hated Mary Poppins, and just tolerated the Little House on the Prairie Series. When I read them E.E. Nesbit's series about the Five Children and It, they acted like I was forcing them to sit through nightly Bible study.

Pat (in Belgium) said...

My daughter LOVED the "classic" Dr. Seuss (language AND illustrations) -- If I Ran the Zoo and McElligot's Pool.
And although we're both hardcore arachnaphobes we both burst into tears at the end of Charlotte's Webb (just the thought of "ragout d'araignee" makes my throat seize up!)

Alison said...

I don't know Apple Pigs, but it reminds me of Margaret Mahy's Jam, where a glut of plums results in some inventive uses for stewed fruit: Jam
(I also love the fact that the mother in this book is an Atomic Scientist)

Lisa-Marie said...

Sameul rolled in dough is one of my favourite pictures too.

Lashes is going to be full on information that is only useful if you have a very specific bag full of things.

Anonymous said...

They haven't read all the books about Anne of Green Gables 10 times, but then again, neither would I if Harry Potter had been available in my days. It's pretty cool though that they are reading Tintin and Asterix in the original language.


Laurel said...

Apple Pigs looks like fun--I was going to put it on my wishlist for the children but good lord, the prices! Perhaps not.

My kids are not quite old enough yet to have crushed my dreams of sharing my favorite books yet. However, my son has been only "meh" about Ant & Bee Go Shopping, which was one of my all-time childhood favorites (frustratingly, Ant & Bee books are also exorbitantly priced).

He did like Go, Dogs, Go! pretty well, so that helps.

Laurel said...

ps Subtract one "yet" up above...

Z said...

I have Apple Pigs right here (literally, it was in the bookcase by my desk and now is on my knee), our copy is the third impression, dated 1978 (first printed 1976) and my grandchildren still love it.

soleils said...

Um, yeah, "Le petit prince" just didn't cut it with my boys. It's inexplicable. Then again, I only really appreciated it when I was older than they are, and more now that I am well into adulthood. Perhaps it's just not a children's book.

Waffle said...

Z - do you really?? I am wildly excited, my copy is long lost in the midsts of antiquity. Please can you blog some pictures from it?

Z said...

Of course I will. I just had a look on Lulu to see if they had republished it - I bought my daughter her favourite toddler book from there when she had a baby - but they haven't. Might be worth checking once in a while, or even suggesting it to them. I'll photograph a few pages and post them later today. If you want photos of every page, let me know and I'll email them. xx

Anonymous said...

Fat chance my boys will ever want to read Anne of Green Gables... It breaks my heart, actually. But Hubby's introduced them to Richard Scarry's books and they love them.

Waffle said...

Oooh, thanks Z.

Anonymous said...

I don't have kids yet (even writing yet strikes a note of deepest apprehrension over that implied future event) but have had fun sharing the world of Hairy Maclary with friends who've had children. Its still to early to tell if the kids like them but as one of the dad's can recite large portions off by heart, I count it as a success.

Loops said...

My son loved Enid Blyton Magic Faraway Tree books.

He is 14 now but still reads them.

He also really enjoyed 'The Little Grey Men' and 'Down the Bright Stream' by BB but they're probably too old for your two

Anonymous said...

Ooh! Children's books - my favourite thing in the whole world!
I also love "Would you rather" and have successfully read it to many 3-4 year olds in groups. It's quite an insight to their character and personal confidence as to how much their choices are influenced (or not) by those of their friends around them. The choices sound rather gorgeous as rendered in French.
I and my children have always been roundly appalled at the fate of Tom Kitten, as you should be - an appalling yet fascinating situation to end up in.
"Don't disarrange the pastry" has entered our family's collection of pet phrases to tell off anyone messing up stuff eg. bedclothes, table setting, cooking flow, etc.
I love Quentin Blake's "Mrs Armitage on Wheels" - another catch phrase "What this bike needs, Breakspear..." applies to many thinking situations! (I bought an old brass & rubber London taxi horn from an antique shop just so I can augment the telling with real sound effects).
In later years was delighted to refind "The Lonely Doll" (& others)by Dare Wright. The poignant photos and stories about Edith captivated me. I borrowed them from my library, but never owned them before.
If you think your children will never read some books, just try reading them aloud - if the story is great, it will stand the test of time - eg. My friend Flicka and Anne of Green Gables both loved by my boys as read-alouds at around 8-9 years.
Heather (NZ)

Anonymous said...

Now you've got me started it may be hard to stop...

My children have offered their comments - daughter (who was miffed I didn't mention her earlier) says "Would you rather" of course, "The chick & the duckling", Little Red Hen, Magic Porridge Pot, Very Hungry Caterpillar, and rather wonderfully, "Porculus" (which is French translation of "Small Pig") by Arnold Lobel. I used to have the English version too, but it is long lost, so we read it badly translated as we go, with that particular French grammatical twist. eg. "He arrived at a place of dirt and rubbish. Here, it is truly dirty, he said. There will surely be here some good soft mud!"
There are delightful verbal jokes built into the French version too - "Un porc pris dans un trottoir!" (A pig stuck in the footpath!)

Also a request to you and your readers - my children all loved a book 10-15 years ago that featured a Dad and kids who baked a magical cake using square eggs. The cake looked plain, but when cut revealed it's wonderful magicalness, to win the competition!
We haven't been able to name or find this at all, and it's really bugging us - can anyone help?
Thanks, Heather (NZ)

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