Near the end of the week from hell I endured, the little guy was found to have contracted a case of head lice.
Between pesticide shampooing the kid's head, then carefully combing out the leftover nits, then washing anything and everything that his head came into contact with in the washing machine and bug spray-bombing anything else that didn't fit in the machine, then calling up my husband and laughing hysterically over the phone to him so that I wouldn't cry over the icing on the crap cake that the past week had turned out to be, well, we needed to get out of the house the next day - or I certainly did. So we headed to the local bookshop, where I found this great book for the kiddo that we've been slowly reading through since, as it's beautifully illustrated with chapters, and there's so much to see and read in it.
Who is Minn? She's a traveler and a mother, an escape artist and a hunter of fish. She finds treasure all up and down the big river while getting into and out of more scrapes than most people have in their lifetimes. She survives levee breaches, floods, strange currents and tides, and, with only three of her little legs to help her through it all, she makes it all the way down the big river from its source where she was born. It's been a fun one to read aloud to the little guy at bedtimes.
A few days ago, the kiddo asked me in the car if I knew what a cylinder lock was and how it worked. "Where's this coming from?" I asked. It was then that I learned he'd been picking up the following tome and reading it whenever he had a spare moment in class:
You have to see it just for the mammoths. What do mammoths have to do with machinery? You just haven't lived until you've seen a picture of a mammoth reaching for a peanut inside an MRI cylinder in order to show how the machine works. And that's just for starters...
So discovering all kinds of things through these kid-oriented books has been great - but then I started to notice some convergences happening that I wasn't all too comfortable with.
See, we've gotten to the point where Minn is sitting in the rain, in the dark, murky Mississippi just outside of New Orleans, knowing instinctively that she'll end up in somebody's soup if she come to shore there. I almost don't want to finish the book, 'cause I know it ends in the Gulf, which is currently not being too kind to turtles. I want to go back to the '50's, when Holling Clancy Holling wrote, illustrated, and published his book, and tell him to head Minn off at Natchez and end the book there. I find myself getting so afraid for that feisty turtle...
Then, the little guy, flipping through The New Way Things Work, called me over excitedly to show me the illustration of how an oil rig worked. Thankfully, no mammoths were involved or oiled in any way in the illustration, which gave me some relief...and the workings of it were pretty cool. I learned a lot after I calmed myself down a little. But just when I think I'm out of the muck, the kid greets me after school and tells me of his latest book find in school this week:
After all this, if my son doesn't come up with some way of weaning us off our dependence on fossil fuels, or of cleaning up our environment as a result of our dependence on fossil fuels, I'm gonna be kinda disappointed.