Saturday, September 8, 2012
Explaining a Few Things
Awww. Each class of second graders has moaned each time I stop reading from Beverly Cleary's Henry Huggins. Their gasps and giggles resound as they contemplate a boy not much older than them whose determination to have a dog drives him to figure out how to get that dog home. Carrying Ribsy onto the bus did not work. The hair tonic box did not work. A 5-cent paper bag, some paper and string seems to work - but that is where I stopped reading.
Along the way, I have needed to stop and explain a few things. Published in 1950, the story is still humorous and engaging, and the children clearly relate to Henry. Yet they wonder. How could he ride the city bus downtown to swim at the Y.M.C.A. and then ride it home again - by himself? How could he buy an ice cream cone for only 5 cents? How could he get on the bus for a dime? What is a telephone booth?
They listen intently as I explain each thing, eager to build on that knowledge as Henry and Ribsy's story continues.