You see, there are certain books that just beg to be told. Acted out. Performed. And, once you've read them a million and one times, you can easily tell them by heart. You know, while you're waiting for your kid to potty. Again.
As a kid, I LOVED the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. I used to ask my grandmother to read it every time we drove down to Houma to visit. I didn't care about any of the other stories in that fairy tale book. Just the goats. I remember going down there when she was in the hospital and after she had died, and I'd sit alone in a room and flip through pages (I always had such trouble locating it in that book), desperately searching for my favorite story. And I read it to myself. Over and over again. It was comforting, and I guess I still carry it with me in my heart today.
One day when Ella was about Harper's age, we happened upon a new version of the story in our library. Three Billygoats Gruff and Mean Calypso Joe was probably the most fun I had ever had reading a picture book. And Ella loved it, too. We read that book every night and several times a day. We checked it out every chance we got (probably should have bought the darn thing a long time ago). Then, she got a little older, we stopped borrowing it, and I forgot all about it. Until a few weeks ago.
This time, I checked it out for Harper. Same joy. For all of us. Even Ella remembered the story, and she doesn't have much of a memory at all for anything beyond the past few months. It's fun to do the voices and the accent and we can all easily recite the dialogue from memory. (Plus, you'll never find a better way to talk to little kids about manners. You know, without pounding in some boring lesson on the stuff.) It's so funny to listen to Harper run around shouting, "Hey mon! Who's dat crossin' me bridge? Makin' all da racket? Disturbin' me sleep?"
Now, of course when we do actual storytelling with the more serious fairy tales, we don't use crazy voices or accents or Disney-fy anything. I just . . . tell it. In other words, the story tells itself. Still, it's fun to go wild and have fun with a story now and then. Especially one that we all enjoy.
Man, I love me some Jamaican goats.