Goldilocks is a thief!!!
I learnt early in my career that children are very literal beings. My first year of teaching was full of funny one liners from students who hadn’t yet realised the confusion that is the English language. When you think about it there are so many things that we say, and don’t mean, terribly confusing for children, particularly those with Special Needs who need instructions broken into small, explicit steps.
Phrases like ‘ Grab a chair’ or ‘being as quiet as a mouse’ would end up with children literally grabbing chairs and creeping around the room making mouse sounds instead of being silent. These phrases you learn very quickly are best avoided with 6 year old’s.
With this in my mind, it is also important that we understand that children of a certain age will also interpret texts very differently to the way in which we intend them to. Goldilocks and the Three Bears for example. You remember it as that cute little story about the girl who ate porridge and wore a frilly dress….but no! in actual reality (or reality according to a 6 year old) Goldilocks was a Thief. If she lived on the wrong side of tracks she would have been taken to the police station and charged with the following offences:
1. Break and Enter: the narrator claims she found the door unlocked, but can we really trust the word of a porridge stealing youth?
2. Trespass: Not only was she in someone’s house without permission, she also had a nap in their bed!
3. Leaving the scene of the crime: Once discovered by the bears she ran off towards the woods…hardly the actions of a remorseful offender.
4. Property Damage: She broke several pieces of furniture. As the children in my class also inquired ‘ Where do bears go to get their chairs fixed?” This would have caused great inconvenience for the bears.
5. Drug Use: Really Goldilocks??? You say a family of bears were living in a house, wearing clothes and ate porridge not people? You certainly added more than sugar to the porridge.
If you look hard enough at many of our Fairytale favourites…many of them involve the main characters committing terrible crimes.
Hansel and Gretel: Murderers….pushing people into boiling pots in awful way to go.
Three Little Pigs: Property Damage, attempted grievous bodily harm
Jack and the Beanstalk: Cannibalism, theft.
Snow White: Attempted murder (by way of poisoning)
Little Red Riding Hood: Identity theft. Obtaining food or children by deceit.
The harder you look the more our favourite characters become less likely to be awarded ‘citizen of the year’. What message are we sending our children?
Obviously this post is all in good fun and the dark side of our literary favourites has been covered many times before. I will continue to use Fairy Tales to teach Narrative…but I do wonder what goes through those little minds when hearing these fabulous tales of talking animals, nasty stepmothers and naughty children.
No wonder I found my son’s big teddy bear facing the wall last week. When I asked him why he said….”.He was looking at me!”
Fair enough I say.