Sunday, October 24, 2010

What book made the biggest impact on your life? Was it read to you, did you read it?

The book, The Wind and the Willows , by Kenneth Grahame, written in 1908 was read to our 5th grade class, by a long term substitute.

When asked by his friends Ratty, Badger and Mole, if Toad had learned the error of his ways in driving a motor car and was he really going to reform Toad looked this way and that and
“Certainly not!, replied Toad emphatically. “On the contrary, I faithfully promise that the very first motor car I see, poop-poop! off I go in it!”

I can still hear the giggles that broke out in the classroom as the teacher read that last line.

In 5th grade, we had a long term substitute who came in mid-year to get us through the end of the school year. For some unknown reason our class had been through a couple part-time substitutes before a long term sub was hired. This woman was a young teacher and knew exactly how to take an unruly group and captivate them with her choice of a read-a-loud.  She came into our classroom and shared a ‘secret’. She was going to read a really wonderful book to us each day after we finished our classroom work. We were on her team immediately. Then part way through her read-a-loud she announced that if we could get our work done by the last quarter, we would take time and make a play out of the Wind in the Willows and put on a play for our parents and the whole school.

Although the read aloud is just a memory, the scenes of the play still come back to me throughout my life. I ended up being the curtain manager, thus I knew the whole play, all the lines, all the characters, the entrances and the exits.  I still remember getting the book as a present and although I never read it again as a child, it was on my shelf as a good friend. When I had my children, I remember reading it to my son and sharing the story that now for me lives on as a memory.

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