Sunday, February 18, 2007

By the Book

I must admit I am extremely ill-read. I can't actually remember the last book I read. I find this to be sad and irritating.

To ammend this and score some Dad Karma, I've started this week to read to monkeys at bedtime. I could give a million reasons why I haven't done this before, but it's all really a bunch o' coddleswap. So Friday night, I decided to forego all excuses, picked up the tome that is the collected Chronicles of Prydain and began reading The Book of Three in the best epic storyteller voice I could muster.

As is the case with most things new, there was protest. That is until I read the first sentence aloud: "Taran wanted to make a sword..."

Eyes widened and mouth shut so fast I am sure there was some kind of fwap, zhwip or kaching heard off in the distance. As the Elder Monkey too wishes to make swords (doing so frequently with sundry household items), if one could learn the craft from hearing about such an endeavor surely it must be worthwhile.

And so he listened intently as Dad began to slaughter all kinds of Welsh-like names. Words with lots of double "ll" and "wy", sounds that make one sound slightly drunk and tongue tied. Go ahead and say Fflewddur Fflam several times in a row without spitting all over yourself.

Soon the intent of making a sword had gone by the wayside and given way to learning greater things such as the silliness of why anyone would listen to an oracular piggy, "meditating" is best done by closing one's eyes and lying flat on the back at least twice a day (and then snoring), and that really you don't go into deep, dark woods without expecting to be run over by a freaky guy wearing a skull and antlers.

And then there is Gurgi. Described as half man, half animal, Elder Monkey keeps changing his mind about what he is. First a baboon. Then an armadillo. Currently a speedy three-toed sloth. Every time yearnings for crunchings and munchings abound, a kind of weak-kneed giggle takes over. The one where you lose all muscle control and can't sit in your chair upright. Almost as if someone had also smacked him, along with Gurgi, in his poor tender head.

The Younger Monkey could have cared less really about listening, and much like Gurgi howled and squirmed in his usual ritual, until my drone surprisingly lulled him into sleep. I think, yes, we will be reading at bedtime from now on.


Brian said...

I think "coddleswap" is my new favorite word.

David said...

That sounds lovely. I loved reading to my nephews when they were younger.

Michael said...

Sounds like a great time! Probably they're still a bit young, but did you ever read Ursula K LeGuin's Earthsea books?

All kinds of magic, dragons, and adventure, plus a good dose of hard-core introspection and liberalism ;-)

Marty Gilbert said...

What a great Dad

Anonymous said...

Oh wow. You know my Dad did that for us, too. He really got into it too. Prydain, Narnia, Watership Down...

It's a very good thing, and your monkeys will remember it always, I promise.

Kris said...

If you read to them while they are young then they will have a great chance of being book lovers when they grow up. I read to my girls every night.

Sean said...

I loved those books when I was a kid. Read them more than once, as I recall.

I read to my girls until they were 11 and 13. They've lost interest in the last couple years, alas. Can't read to them forever I guess.