This morning my ever more imaginative kid told me a story which has the seeds of a real children’s book in it. It went something like this:
Once upon a time there was a baby giraffe. He went for a walk in the street. He met an old lady who said, “Who are you?”
“I am baby giraffe,” baby giraffe said.
“Go back to the zoo!” the old lady said.
So the baby giraffe did.
Next, a kitty went for a walk in the street. She also met the old lady.
“Who are you?” the old lady asked.
“I am Kitty and I don’t come from a zoo,” said Kitty.
“Go back to your house!” said the old lady.
So Kitty did.
The thing that amazes me about this is, barring some grammatical clean up, this is pretty much exactly how he told it. And while there is some mystery about why this old lady doesn’t want animals roaming her street, or indeed why the animals are so compliant to her wishes, this also has a really clear story structure that he has obviously just gleaned from being told stories. He also tells them in a distinct vocal “story-telling” register. And bookends them clearly with the “once upon a time” and “the end”.
You could, I suppose, argue that any kid of mine is likely to be exposed and perhaps predisposed to a lot of story-telling techniques, but I honestly kind of think some of this stuff is just innate in humans. We love stories. We make patterns.
In either case, I am very tempted to help him expand this one into a real book. And I am loving his growing desire to tell stories and his improving skill at doing so. It’s awesome.