Lois Lowry's Blog
Yesterday I drove up to Portland, Maine and spent the night at my son's house before visiting my grandson's first grade class to talk to the kids this morning.
I slept in my grandson's bedroom, recently redecorated by their dad in red, white, and blue and with a larger-than-life-size David Ortiz on the wall...so huge that his bat extends onto the ceiling. When I said to my son, "I've always dreamed of sleeping with Big Papi" he said, "Mom, you're disgusting."
The first-graders were wonderful: lively and giggly, and guess what they voted unanimously for when I told them a story, stopped short of the ending, and suggested that it could have an ending that was...happy, sad, scary, or gross. No wonder Captain Underpants and Walter the Farting Dog are hits with this age. Gross wins hands down.
I didn't think to count the number of children in the class. But when it was time for recess, just as I was leaving, I watched them all head for their outdoor clothes: boots, snow pants, mittens, hats, etc. etc...this is Maine in january. It made me remember when I had four small children, all born in less than five years, and how I would bundle them up one after the other, just for a trip to the grocery store. All those mittens! All those boots! At least the first graders could get their own clothes on.
A new Gooney Bird book, coming out next spring, takes place in January and has a scene when the children are arriving in the classroom on a snowy day. Here's an excerpt:
Gooney Bird Greene entered the classroom with the other children, and they began to remove hats and mittens and jackets and boots. They all kept indoor footwear in their cubbies. One by one they lined up their wet boots and changed into their dry slippers and clogs and crocs.
“What on earth are those, Gooney Bird?” Mrs. Pidgeon asked, watching as Gooney Bird sat on the floor and tried to wrestle something off her feet.
Gooney Bird scowled. “Well,” she said, “I thought they were high-fashion boots. I got them at the Goodwill Store, on the half-price table. One dollar and forty-five cents.”
“Quite a bargain,” Mrs. Pidgeon commented, still looking at Gooney Bird’s feet. “Need some help?”
“Thank you.” Gooney Bird hobbled to a nearby bench, sat down, and held her legs out. One at a time Mrs. Pidgeon pulled off the wet boots. They were bright blue, with very high, thin heels.
When Mrs. Pidgeon had set them side by side on the shelf, next to the long puddled row of ordinary rubber boots, Gooney Bird looked at them with distaste. “I thought the stiletto heels were very cool,” she said. “Stiletto means a thin, pointy stabbing tool, and that’s why they call these stiletto heels. See?” She held one up. “But they’re not comfortable. They do stab. And they were slippery on the ice. I fell twice on my way to school. Look. My knees are all wet.”
Mrs. Pidgeon felt the damp knees of Gooney Bird’s black tights sympathetically. “Goodness,” she said.
“I have buyer’s remorse,” Gooney Bird said.