Friday, February 23, 2007

A Twist on Reading a Good Book

Brittany Shahmehri shares her family's twist on reading a good book in a recent article in the Christian Science Monitor. (Hat tip: Al Mohler). This sounds like a tasty idea:

We have a tradition of trying foods from the books we read aloud. It started when we read Elizabeth Enright's "The Saturdays," and one of the boys asked, "What are petit fours?"

An answer, my husband and I felt, wouldn't be as good as a sample. So one Saturday we all sat down to tea and little cakes, iced in pink, green, and yellow. It was exciting for the boys to try a dessert they had learned about in a book.

Later, when we read C.S. Lewis's "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," we had Turkish delight. "I don't think I would betray my brothers and sisters for this!" said one child.

We read "The Penderwicks," written by Jeanne Birdsall, and had gingerbread. We read Paddington Bear and tried marmalade.

The world that a good book creates is whole and real, but it lies flat on the page until a reader animates it. Stories, when read, are visceral: We believe in the characters. We can see their lives, hear the things they hear. We can almost taste the food they eat. Almost. Because while stories are visceral, they aren't tangible. Petit fours, however, are tangible.

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