Friday, January 25, 2008

A transcript from a recent email to a dear friend in which I describe Rebecca's comments on dinosaur relations

I must preface this story by saying that Rebecca has recently "discovered"
dinosaurs. She calls them "dinos".
This morning, Rebecca woke up and she wanted me to read her a story. First
we read The Cat in the Hat (by read, I mean I tried to read as much text as
possible while she whipped through the pages). Then we read a Winnie the
Pooh story. Finally, she picked up a giant dinosaur book that had been
mine as a child. We start by looking at a page with a map of the world,
that shows where various fossils have been located. Then she flips to a
two page illustration. It shows a swampy area, lush with vegetation. The
sky is dark grey - there is obviously an ominous thunderstorm in the
offing. In the distance, a green herbivorous dinosaur is munching on some
ferns. In the foreground is a giant, fleshy Apatosaurus, standing in a
pool of water, it's eyes are shut, it has a grimace on its face, and its
long neck is curved back such that its head is somewhere over the middle of
its body. A large violent red and black striped Allosaurus is astride the
back of the Apatosaurus. The claws of its legs are digging into the ribs
of its prey. Little rivulets of blood are running from the talon puncture
marks. Its arms are wrapped around the lower part of the brontosaurus'
neck, and its jaws are firmly clenched on a higher part of the neck, where
Apatosaurus blood is now running freely. The Allosaurus is looking
directly at you with a most malevolent expression. A second Allosaurus
stands nearby, obviously hoping to join in the fun.
I wondered what she would think of this picture. There is so much
atmosphere and emotional content, I thought that she might find it scary.
I remembered a book on prehistoric animals that I had as a child. There
was one especially scary picture of a prehistoric shark. I was so afraid
to look at the page, that I had memorized its exact location so I knew when
I should skip a page.
She was not afraid.
She looked at the picture, she pointed to it and she said "hug!".
Indeed - the world is different through the eyes of a child.
It really cracked me up. :)

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