Mom reads me books over and over and over again. I like hearing the same book read to me, because I often fall asleep and miss parts. Depending upon how full my belly is, it can take me several nights to get through a whole story.
One book Mom reads is about a katurpiller. I’ve never seen a katurpiller, but it sounds like a pig with lots of feet. Basically, as I understand it, the very hungry katurpiller chews holes in some leaves, the katurpiller chews holes in some fruit, the katurpiller chews holes in some more fruit, and then the katurpiller ruins even more fruit instead of finishing any of the fruit he started to eat earlier, so, as you might imagine, he is never satisfied and he should be seen as a cautionary tale concerning American hyperconsumerist, anti-environmental practices.
Near the end of the book, the katurpiller faces the consequences of extreme and embarrassing gluttony after he gorges himself on all kinds of trash, discarded candy, and other detritus until he gets a debilitating stomach ache. Finally, having learned nothing from his shameful behavior, the katurpiller binges one final time and crams so much into his gullet that he can no longer leave his house and he dies a lonely shut-in.
That’s a very sad ending but it’s probably a relief to his katurpiller boss, since his disability payments were no doubt killing his leaf harvesting company and his boss can now outsource the very hungry katurpiller’s job to an Asian butterfly who has excellent math skills, has an incredible work ethic, and who only needs to eat a tiny bit of flower sap once a day.
Mom says that the katurpiller doesn’t die, that it’s the katurpiller that BECOMES the butterfly, but she’s not right. If the katurpiller BECOMES the butterfly, that means the very hungry katurpiller gets rewarded for his selfish behavior, his destructive dietary habits, and his ecological malfeasance. Whether I’m right or Mom’s right, the hungry katurpiller is certainly not an appropriate role model for babies! You don’t see me starting a new bottle until the bottle I’m drinking is either empty or at least older than an hour.
Another book we read quite often, The Giving Tree, is complex and rather troubling. The author looks scary and he writes about a tree that talks to a boy. Mrs. Tree gives everything, but Mrs. Tree gets nothing back. That’s basically the whole book, but Mrs. Tree’s raw deal is even worse when you look closely at the situation, and we’re going to look more closely at Mrs. Tree’s plight in part two.
This is what’s known as a “teaser,” so I’m not going to talk about Mrs. Tree until my second book review.
Before we go, you should know that this Shel guy not only gives me a lot to think about, but he also gives Hogan Dog nightmares. As you may know, Hogan’s canine ancestors actually worked for a living. Ancient ridgebacks chased down lions that needed chasing, so Hogan was shocked when he learned of Shel’s book about a lion who shoots back. It’s called Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back.
Lions that shoot back at ridgebacks? That’s crazy talk! That’s unacceptable! Now I know why Mom hates cats so much; cats are freaking dangerous and unpredictable any way, and now we come to learn that some of them are armed! Unbelievable!
I want Mom to get the book and to read it to me several times, so I can figure out where this ridgeback shooting lion is. If Lafcadio is somewhere far away, like South Africa or Arlington, Hogan will be able to relax more… although too much more Hogan relaxation might mean that the vetteranarrian can’t find Hogan’s pulse any more, so we might tell Hogan that the shooting back lion is kind of close, but not too close, so Hogan will wake up once in a while to make sure there’s no shooting back lion in the yard. Hogan hasn’t been this upset since he learned about the spraying back skunk!
That’s all for this book review. We’ll analyze what went wrong with Mrs. Tree next time, so if you haven’t had The Giving Tree read to you yet, now’s your chance to get caught up. It’s a complicated book, so make sure someone reads it to you several nights in a row.