Recently the kids and I hit upon a new idea that has brought an extra layer of interest and mirth to our morning read-aloud sessions. We decided to make a little marker that we could move around the globe to the location of each story we’re reading. We started with a little blob of blue putty—you know, the kind that was supposed to hold our timeline to the wall without marking up the paint. It didn’t. Instead, it seems to travel all around the house in the busy fingers of my children.
Well, now it travels around the globe. A little piece of it, at least. Such a simple idea, and such fun! Yesterday Mr. Putty began (as he always does) here in Virginia; hopped over to Palestine; sojourned down to Egypt; zipped to Italy to visit St. John Bosco; flew back across the Atlantic to New England, where Robert Frost was picking apples; escaped to Germany to avoid hearing my children mangle the language in our sitting room; reunited with us in Greenland, where a windswept traveler was regaling the household of Eric the Red with tales of a new land to the west; hurried to Scandinavia, arriving just in time to see some strange folks pop out of the armpit of Ymir the frost giant; and there he lingered for the rest of the day.
The girls take turns assisting Mr. Putty with his travels. (Beanie often has to be dissuaded from allowing him to visit her grandparents in Colorado instead of venturing to his next book-inspired rendesvous.) At some point, our intrepid explorer sprouted a tiny American flag (complete with gold-painted toothpick flagpole) from the top of his blobby self. While I’m a little uncomfortable with the imperial overtones of such an adornment—Mr. Putty is, in effect, planting the U.S. flag in the soil of countries all over the world—it does make it easier to see where he’s stuck himself now. And it’s such a sweet little flag.
Dear Mr. Putty! I wonder where in the world he’ll go today?