Friday, February 29, 2008

Lafcadio: Book review by 5-yr old and 10-yr old

Sean prefers nonfiction to fiction. I've been trying to get him to read simple fiction such as those in Enid Blyton books but he's not too interested. The only story book which he has enjoyed a lot was Roald Dahl's Esio Trot (Tortoise spelt backwards) and that is because tortoises are his best buddies, well, he loves his tortoise soft toys and he's addicted to Tortoise Talk (where he talks to Brian's hand-talking tortoise & other hand-talking animals in Animal Town).

Last week, I saw him reading Shel Silverstein's Lafcadio: The Lion who shot back. Not quite sure if this is strictly fiction in the 'normal' story-book sense, it's just a book with lots of nonsensical and funny scenarios (not unlike those found in the author's other poetry-based books, of which Runny Babbit is Sean's favourite).

It's interesting to see though, what Sean actually takes away from the book. Just compare his review with that of Brian's.

Lafcadio is a lion that likes marshmallows but one day, he became a hunter. He couldn't shoot anything except the sky. And then he learnt to shoot more things, the berries of the trees, the flies of the berries, the ears of the flies, the dust of the ears, and finally, the sunlight of the dust. He could shoot the mountain, the cliff, the tree, the waterfall, maybe the river. And you know what, he could shoot the river. He can shoot 6 bottles, he can shoot 100 balloons off the ceiling. He liked to go up and down, up and down, up and down, the elevator, which made the elevator man verrrrrry, very, very, very....very tired. And one day, he didn't want to belong anywhere. And that's all. The End.

I couldn't believe that that was all there was to this book and got Brian to rattle off his review of a book he last read almost 2 years ago in London.

Lafcadio is a lion, he used to live in a jungle. And one day, a hunter came and tried to shoot the lions. All the lions ran away except Lafcadio. Lafcadio ate the hunter and took his gun. He used the gun to practise shooting. When he needed more bullets, he would find another hunter, eat him up, and take his gun.

One day, a circus man came and he said, "Do you want to be in my circus? You would be fantastic!" And then Lafcadio said, "Can I have marshmallows too? They sound delicious." The circus man said, "You'll live in a house of marshmallows. You'll take a bath of marshmallows"...and he said everything about marshmallows.

The circus man brought the lion to the city and said, "First we need to get you a place to live." So Lafcadio went to a hotel, and then the author of the book meets Lafcadio. In the book, the author (Shel Silverstein) called himself Uncle Shelby. And the hotel refused to give the lion a room stay in. So the lion said, "Grawgr, Grawgr!!!" (Brian corrected my spelling for Grawgr at this point). And the hotel man got scared and gave him a room.

Lafcadio and Uncle Shelby then went into the elevator and then Lafcadio found riding on the elevator so fun that he made the elevator boy go up and down, and up and down. And the elevator boy wanted to stop, but the lion said, "Grawgr, Grawgr!!!!".

And then Lafcadio took a bath and he said, "Hey, this isn't a bath of marshmallows." The circus man said, "You'll have your bath of marshmallows when you're working for me."

And then the lion kept saying, "Grawgr, Grawgr!!!" to get what he wanted, like a taxi ride, or a haircut, or a suit (because he wanted a suit of marshmallows), or to eat marshmallows at the restaurant. Then he went to the circus to work for the circus man, and everybody liked Lafcadio and he became famous.

He went to other places without the author. And the author would get postcards and Lafcadio became more like a man. He'd dance with women, he'd play tennis and golf, and he learnt how to sign 6 autographs at a time, two with his paws, one with his tail, one with his teeth, and the last two with his other paws.

Someone wanted Lafcadio to go hunting with him. Lafcadio said okay and he found a pride of lions that he used to live with. The lions said, "Hey, you're a lion, you belong to us." And the person said, "No, you belong in the city." And both sides argued about who Lafcadio belonged to. And Lafcadio was so upset that he ran away. The End.

Same book, totally different take on it!

It seems that all Sean took away from this book despite enjoying it from start to finish was Shoot, Shoot, Shoot! :)


Hsien Lei said...

I guess this is why people re-read books. They say they get something different out of it depending on life experience and stage.

Lilian said...

Absolutely. And that is why I bought Little Prince for Brian when he was only 6, a book I think he'll be re-reading till he's 66.