Monday, January 7, 2008

Actually, that's not exactly what that means...

My oldest nephew is 7 and has just recently become a devoted reader. This fills me with joy. As a devoted reader myself, I have been the book-pushing-aunty for years now, marking every nephew’s birthday and Christmas with yet another new and beloved (at least by me) book. I love that Ethan has so many good books to look forward to.

This year I gave him the Encyclopedia Brown omnibus and Soup by Richard Peck. I can’t wait to hear what he thinks of them.

One of the side-effects of Ethan’s new reader-ness is that he reads everything, not just books about boy detectives or pirates or tigers. He reads signs and food packaging material and brochures.

Reading is not always the only step required for perfect comprehension, however, despite a reader's enthusiasm.

Last week, while my mom was still in Texas visiting my sister, she called to tell me a story that demonstrates this principle very well.

Apparently my brother-in-law was showing off his cooking skills and had made a fancy dinner. My mother and sister were asking about the ingredients he had used and he brought out the packaging for the new, special product he had tried. As he’s dishing up the food and they’re all talking about it, how yummy it looks and smells, etc., Ethan is reading the packaging. And suddenly, in a voice of melodramatic yet completely authentic horror he reads aloud,


Everyone froze. Then my mom started laughing. My sister, however, was infected by Ethan’s horror and completely unable to shake it off, even knowing as she did that the phrase ‘seals in juices’ does not in fact refer to blubbery Arctic mammals with meltingly beautiful brown eyes, all bubbled up in yummy juices.

Sometimes things have other meanings. And sometimes, the illogical one is the most powerful.


Rimshot said...



Antique Mommy said...

Ha! I'm not sure if I'd rather have seals not in juices!