OpenFiction [Blog]

A Halloween pig

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on October 29, 2006

For Halloween this year, my 5 year-old daughter Olivia chose to be Wilber the pig from her favorite book right now, Charlotte’s Web. We’ve discovered that they simply do not make pig costumes for 5 year-old girls, and so Lori pulled together pink leotards and tights and outbid another desperate parent for the only two sets of pig ears and tail on eBay (unfortunately winning both, but war is war), and I fashioned a pig nose out of a toilet paper roll and the elastic from a party hat. Still we’re thrilled her costume is from literature rather than a cartoon.

Prior to reading the book to Olivia, I’d only ever seen the cartoon version, and it’s been a real joy getting to read it with her. E.B. White has a tremendous ear and it’s a book that was simply made to read aloud. A sample:

The barn was large. It was very old. It smelled of hay and it smelled of manure. It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows. It often had a peaceful sort of smell–as though nothing bad could happen ever again in the world. It smelled of grain and of harness dressing and of axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope. And whenever the cat was given a fish head to eat, the barn would smell of fish. But mostly it smelled of hay, for there was always hay in the great loft up overhead. And there was always hay being pitched down to the cows and the horses and the sheep.

The barn was pleasantly warm in winter when the animals spent most of their time indoors, and it was pleasantly cool in the summer when the big doors stood wide open to the breeze. The barn had stalls on the main floor for the work horses, tie-ups on the main floor for the cows, a sheepfold down below for the sheep, a pigpen down below for Wilbur, and it was full of all sorts of things that you find in barns: ladders, grindstones, pitch forks, monkey wrenches, scythes, lawn mowers, snow shovels, ax handles, milk pails, water buckets, empty grain sacks, and rusty rat traps. It was the kind of barn that swallows like to build their nests in. It was the kind of barn that children like to play in. And the whole thing was owned by Fern’s uncle, Mr. Homer L. Zuckerman.

It’s a book I enjoy reading as often as Olivia enjoys hearing, and far better than the stilted prose of most children’s fiction.


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