Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Don't ruin a good story


We love to read in this house. I am so thrilled that we're raising a house full of readers. Besides the enjoyment of finding a King child with nose in book, family read-aloud time is a favorite. Together we have enjoyed all sorts of books from fantasy (not a personal favorite as I see no point in reading something that could never happen) to all sorts of fiction to nonfiction (remember 19 Steps Up the Mountain?) and everything in between. But one genre you won't find me reading is the animals hurt or dying genre. I just can't do it. And I certainly can't watch the movie version.

My great aunt found this out early on. Aunty Frances (said with much fondness for she certainly did introduce me to many things I wouldn't otherwise have experienced) decided that I needed some culture. She decided that I needed to enter the wonderful world of the movie theater. For my first experience she took me to see Bambi. Can't go wrong with a cute little deer and his friends, can you? Little did she know. I cried from beginning to end. She waited a few years and when she decided that I had grown out of the crying phase she took me to see Benji. Bad move. I hadn't grown out of anything; I bawled through that whole movie, too. She never took me to another movie after that.

Then there were the books. Like most little girls, I loved the Little House series. But even this series has its troubles. Jack, the beloved family dog (spoiler alert) dies in chapter 2 of By the Shores of Silver Lake. Reading it out loud to my children, I tried to convince myself that I could do it. I was sure I could do it. But in the end, I was crying rivers. Thankfully John happened to be home at that moment. I had to hand the book to him to finish the chapter. Now I know I need to reread this for my younger children who never had the joys of meeting Laura and Pa. Maybe we'll skip the whole Silver Lake era and Jack will be able to live forever this time around.

I refuse to read Rascal, Old Yeller, and Where the Red Fern Grows. Each of these could be deemed great literature in the King house - if only they ended with the same number of live animals with which they started.

But by far the most emotional read aloud moment came while reading Incident at Hawk's Hill. For some reason my memories of this book did not include the death of any animals. For those who are not familiar with this story, it is about a young handicapped boy who wanders off from his family's farm. After he is found they discover that he had spent his missing days with a badger. This is all fine but when a neighbor sees the badger he, well...I won't give this one away. Let's just say that I was crying so hard the kids didn't know what to do about it. Children #s 1, 2, and 3 were all laughing at me. They just couldn't see why someone should be so upset about a badger. Child #4, the sensitvie one, brought me a box of Kleenex which was soon emptied. Again, John happened to be home so the book was passed to him to finish. I tried not to lose it, I really did. In the end, (spoiler alert), the animal is not dead. She revives and is fine. Then you should have heard my family laugh at my expense!

So if you ever have aspirations to write a book or make a movie, please make sure the animals all survive, healthy and in one piece, from beginning to end.

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