“There are lots of would-be censors out there, and although they may have different agendas, they all want basically the same thing: for you to see the world they see… or to at least shut up about what you do see that’s different. They are the agents of the status quo.” – S. King
Last week on Facebook I asked advice from other parents: “Thorin’s new story is called ‘Zombie Chicken’. Do you point out your concerns and ask questions or just let the kid go?”
I got terrific responses and the one that best summed up what I suspected came from Jennifer Tuttle, a scholar and a mother, who wrote: “Stories and imagination are the places they get to transgress with impunity. Let him go!”
So, I did let him go. (There is a song in there somewhere.) And here is his story:
There was a Baby Robot Teacher, Kicky Waters, who cried a lot.
At the school he shot ten red chickens. They died.
The girls and boys saw it and screamed.
The chickens became zombies.
They ate the mother.*
I couldn’t actually let him go though:
I asked: “Could it be ‘They ate humans’ rather than ‘They ate the mother’?”
Thorin: “No! No! No, no, no, no, no. Not!”
Well, that couldn’t be any clearer.
Later he told his story to Bubba:
Bubba asked: “Just one mother?”
“Yes, one mother” he said.
“Who is the mother?” she asked.
He hooked his thumb in my direction.
“Oh, Thorin, you don’t really want Zombie Chickens to eat your mother, do you?” she asked.
“Yes, I do!”, followed by hysterical laughter.
“Thorin, if they ate your mommy who would drive you all over town?”
“The chickens” he said followed by obnoxiously accurate chewing noises.
I wanted to think I had more to offer than transportation but at least she was trying to keep me alive.
The upshot: Thorin can now read these new words: Zombie, Chicken, Kicky Waters*, Teacher, Died, Screamed.
* In the first draft the chickens had ‘knives’ but frustration with the silent K made him edited it out. I wouldn’t have stood a chance in that version.
**Yes, he came up with the name
For more Thorin stories read: Collaborative Storytelling: Liz Peck and Jello.