Monday, August 01, 2005

Vacation Reading, Part 2

Here's one from my daughter Sage's vacation reading list. . . .Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You've seen the old movie. Maybe even the new movie. (I am eager to see Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. . . great casting), but have you read the book?

The 40th Anniversary edition is incredibly illustrated.



Here's the Oompa Loompa TV song. . . incredible that this was written in 1964. . . .Ronald Dahl was a prophet!

'The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set –
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they're hypnotised by it,
Until they're absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don't climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink –
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exacts what
This does to your beloved tot?
IT ROTS THE SENSES IN THE HEAD!
IT KILLS IMAGINATION DEAD!
IT CLOGS AND CLUTTERS UP THE MIND!
IT MAKES A CHILD SO DULL AND BLIND
HE CAN NO LONGER UNDERSTAND
A FANTASY, A FAIRYLAND!
HIS BRAIN BECOMES AS SOFT AS CHEESE!
HIS POWERS OF THINKING RUST AND FREEZE!
HE CANNOT THINK – HE ONLY SEES!
"All right!" you'll cry. "All right!" you'll say,
"But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children! Please explain!"
We'll answer this by asking you,
"What used the darling ones to do?
How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?"
Have you forgotten? Don't you know?
We'll say it very loud and slow:
THEY... USED... TO... READ! They'd READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
TO READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it's Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and –
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr Toad, and bless my soul,
There's Mr Rat and Mr Mole –
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The streams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks –
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They'll now begin to feel the need
Of having something good to read.
And once they start – oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They'll grow so keen
They'll wonder what they'd ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean.
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

3 comments:

Tim Weaver said...

Tremendous!!!

Shoot me if I'm watching more than an hour or two a week.

OK, don't shoot me, but ask me what's up and how my 'boob tube' time has value to it.

Suzette Lyons said...

We read that one last month. I really liked the TV song as well. Then we went on to read "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator". We also rented the old movie. It is really great. When we saw the new movie we all agreed (even Zach) that the book is ALWAYS better than the movie.

Both movies changed the songs and cut out some of the best in them. I liked the modern music in the new movie, but could not understand or hear most of the lyrics. I did not like the way Johnny Depp played Willy Wonka. Was he trying to redeem Michael Jackson some how? He seemed to be playing a version of the pop star rather than a genius inventor. That made it just a little creepy.

We have a tv, but no cable so we do tend to read more than we used to do. The VCR and DVD players can still cause a large amount of distraction from much more important things.

What else did you read?

Erika McGuire said...

Hooray for this urging against the TV babysitter! It's a bummer my house is so cluttered, but I do believe it's more important we don't have our minds cluttered.