Monday, 14 July 2008

when childrens books are devastating

We had a lovely weekend visiting Luke's family in the quiet countryside of Dairy Flat. Luke comes from a pretty large family (he is one of 6 kids, his mother is one of 6 kids, and 3 step kids) so their house is always full of activity. Sometimes it reminds me of an airport because people are constantly taking off or coming in for a landing.

On Friday night this was especially true because some of the family (16 of us) gathered to bid farewell to Luke's younger brother Dan, who is off to Canada for a year. There was a big dinner cooked by Luke's mum who doesn't even bat an eye until the guest list starts creeping into the mid twenties. still I did my part by contributing, you guessed it, pumpkin pies. (what can I say, I love me some pie).

One of the good things about getting out of Auckland and embarking into the sparsely populated sector, is the wonderful undiscovered 'op shops' you would never find in the city. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the dialect, 'op shop' is short for opportunity shop and is basically a very cheap thrift store. Finding these places is a mission because they are often hard to come by and close before I am ready to be in out public. This time I found most of my wares in a pocket-sized building hidden behind a church. Its only open 6 hours a week and closes at noon (noon!) on saturdays.

I scavenged these great children's books from the 70s. They were still in pretty good shape for being 30 years old and cost only 50 cents each, which is a bargain for this area. (I know all you more rural NZers are snickering at my 'cheap' price, but they are a $1 each in the city!)

Also some very pretty ribbons that I have already used on a wabbit.

"are you a dressmaker?" asked the sweet op shop lady. I nearly blushed as I stumbled over myself to corrected her. "oh me? no way... um I sew a little but a dressmaker? no I am not that good" Well she wasn't asking for my skill level, she just wanted to sell me this thingy. which I call the wheel of torture. (okay maybe just the wheel of discomfort because the spikes aren't that sharp). I don't really know what it does or how to use it. Any tips? I have gathered it has something to do with pattern tracing.

And inside the golden book: Bless. I should start a series of these because they pretty much melt my heart. Mothers, do not give away the books your children have carefully written their names in because it is precious. Unless you don't care about that kind of thing, in which case, give them to me.

I couldn't resist the Jesus book because of all the colour and pattern in the robes. Such good design and layout, and for a relatively realistic look, this illustrator still manages to put in a lot of style and charisma. It almost makes up for the fact that Jesus is looking pretty Swedish. Since he was Jewish, the whole blonde thing isn't very convincing.

anyway, I must warn you that this next section is not for the faint of heart.

watch as the tale of little turtle unfolds. This is his sweet little turtle life on the pond. Until wait, what's that off in the distance?

Hmmm I wonder what those guys are up to?

Good Lord no!

Run for you life guys!!!!!

At this point I had to shut the book because I was getting too worked up and having Watership Down flash backs. I was also embarrassing my 12 year old sister in law who happened to be in tiny op shop with me while I was gasping my way through Little Turtle. (And probably getting a little dramatic. )

This kind of thing would have really upset me as a kid. How do you parents handle telling your kids about life's cruel realities?

Good thing I had this sweet nursry rhyme book to zen out to afterward. (just look at the colourful fairies and everything will the okay). I'll have to pretend this story isn't based on the beheading of Mary Queen of Scotts.

Hope you all had a restful weekend too.

I've added a few more Kiwi blogs into our list. For your enjoyment: scent of water, show your workings, and so tread softly.



Megan Rose said...

Yes! Aren't those far-flung op shops great? While we've got a great selection of them here in Oamaru (and they're hardly touched most weeks), I've found myself traveling further and further to find the ultimate, undiscovered op shop in NZ. So far Waimate is looking pretty good but I can't get a decent cup of coffee there...

Mrs.French said...

poot little turtle. :( I cannot handle books like this and my B would then ask too many questions. This is also why I refuse to watch Bambi. I love this post deary!

lilysmakebelieve said...

Oh op shop's you are my friend,
great finds! And thank you for the NZ blog's- I've had a great read :)
Liv xx

Little Miss Flossy said...

We were in Waimate yesterday... all those oppies and second-hand places within spitting distance. We passed on coffee too...
The spiky thing is a tracing wheel and it's used in conjunction with a kind of waxy carbon paper. You put the carbon paper between fabric and pattern and use the spiky wheel to draw on things you want to transfer like darts and centre lines, it gives you _ _ _ _ _ _ sort-of lines to follow when you pin up or sew. Made obsolete I guess by fade-away markers.

lilysmakebelieve said...

Something you may be interested in (you may have seen this already) :)

Helen said...

Thanks for the add :) I just found some goodies at the Nelson Sallies on my holiday. My sister still has Watershipdown post traumatic stress disorder ;)

Victoria said...

Ha! As soon as I saw that picture I had a Watership Down flashback too - before I'd read what you wrote about it! I find kids books and movies with a little bit of scary/hard/bad in them are good for kids, to prepare them for life, since they work out pretty early that it's not all fairies in the garden... but I won't be adding Watership Down to the mix - traumatising!!
The opshop prices when I go to the city also traumatise me.

Heart Felt said...

Great finds, Golden Books have a place in my heart, I love them!

Anonymous said...

Thank's for the great article. I did find the one with the bulldozer a little "in your face" for children.. even if i did find myself chuckling :)

You might like to check out Bayard's range of children's books.

In this month's issues StoryBox has Helen Oxenbury guest illustrating, DiscoveryBox has an Olympics Special and there are also some great Rainy Day Activities!

My kids seem to really be getting on with them well and they are not traumatizing like those books above!