One Christmas tradition in our family is to set out baskets full of seasonal children's books. I already have quite a collection that I set out this week on our coffee table. Addison has been thrilled by the "Baby Jesus" books, as she calls them, and there is one particular little cardboard book about the nativity that we have to read every night before bed.
Anyways, last night I was reading her "Christmas for a Kitten." This story has beautiful illustrations, but I very quickly realized I was going to have to sensor the words to keep it rated "Toddler." After all - who in the world thinks little toddlers like stories about animals being orphaned, anyways?? Think about it - "Finding Nemo," "Bambi," "Are You My Mother," not to mention all the old fashioned fairy tales.
To kids - this isn't really entertainment. This is like their worst nightmare coming true!
So, I'm reading the story with a sing-song voice and totally changing the plot from : man takes kitten from momma cat, throws kitten in sack, dumps sack on side of the road..... to: kitty is looking for momma. Isn't that silly? She'll find her soon....
Eventually Santa finds the kitten and takes her to the North Pole with him.
But still --
Where's Momma Cat?
And is the North Pole really a substitute for Momma?
Well, even with my major editing, within 2 pages of the book, I notice Addison's face start to scrunch up and her mouth start to quiver. I ask her what's wrong and she turns to me, in a quiet wail, and says, "Where's kitty's momma?!" Big tears in her eyes. Snot starting to run out of her nose.
My mind went back to the "Finding Nemo" Meltdown of '09 when Nemo couldn't find his daddy...
So, we fast forwarded through the book and ended with me telling her that Santa's house had Momma Cat waiting just inside the door for baby and they all lived together happily ever after.
Did that little plot twist occur to the author? Or is it really always necessary to knock off a parent to engage the youth in your story??