Me: Would you like to read…let me see, I still think you’re too small for the Narnia books, “The Railway Children” is a bit hard as is “A Little Princess”…
Her: Oh “A Little Princess” is that the one with Sara and her slave Becky?
Me: Um, yes, and the nice family.
Her: And they call her the-little-girl-who-is-not-a-beggar.
Her: And she has a French lesson and she can already speak French.
Me: Yes, yes and there’s Lottie and the mean headmistress.
Her: Miss Munchkin.
Me: Um, I think that’s Miss Minchin but YES.
Her: And she is sent to live in the attic.
Me: And it’s so sad, her father dies and they are so mean to her (my eyes start to water at the thought of the many cruelties imposed on brave little Sara).
Her: Don’t cry Mummy, it all turns out well in the end. [Pause] Although her father is still dead.
The under-7s are a bit heartless aren’t they?
Not heartless but lacking empathy. Or perhaps unaware there are not always happy endings.
Since there are almost no children’s books where the children have any parents at all let alone nice ones I think they just come to accept that there is a fictional world that is completely disassociated from the real world.. and it’s not until later that they understand that the some people in the real world have similar bad experiences to those in the fictional world which is then when some empathy is required. if that makes any sense at all….
That’s a good point GPM. Yes to both sibling.