I love to play with my children. They are 5 and 7 at the writing of this chapter. I love to read books, tell stories, and pretend; to learn, sing, and pray, and to say â€śAmen.â€ť Spiderman webs and small fairy wings, these are a few of my favorite things.
One book I read with my kids was called, â€śSomethingâ€™s Not Quite Right.â€ť Page after page there were cartoon looking pictures of children playing in yards or at an amusement park and things of this nature. At first glance, the pictures looked normal. However, the goal of this book was to get the children think critically. There were things in the pictures that made no sense. For example, a boy was flying a kite, but actually he was flying a fire hydrant. When you looked in the driverâ€™s seat of the fire truck driving down Main Street, there was a dog, not a firefighter. The more you looked at these pictures the more you realized how ridiculous they were. So much of what was happening in the pictures could never happen in reality.
With every turn of the page we said in unison, â€śSomethingâ€™s not quite right,â€ť with excitement, anticipation, and a little wonder. Could we find everything that was not quite right, or would we get tricked?
What I liked about the book was that it never told you how many impossibilities there were on each page. You never felt sure that youâ€™d found all of the mistakes. Although fun, there was some tension in experiencing this book. In fact, it was the tension that enhanced the fun.
â€śDid I find all the mistakes?â€ť
â€śHow come I didnâ€™t see that mistake all this time?â€ť
â€śIs that a mistake? No wait, that really could happen.â€ť
â€śAm I losing my mind?â€ť
â€śShould we turn the page?â€ť
We seldom agreed that it was time to move on. Each time it seemed like it was time to turn the page, one of us would object, thinking that there might be one more thing not quite right.
Another fun part of the book was saying what should be there for real. Itâ€™s a kite, not a fire hydrant. A fireman should be driving the fire truck, not a dog. Or maybe a firewoman should be driving the fire truck. Aha, sometimes there was more than one right answer.
This fun book exposed my children to a construct, had them deconstructing it, and then had them reconstructing it. Good grief! This was the same thing I learned in my literary criticism class in college. As we were learning what was not quite right, something very, very right was happening at the same time. They were learning not to merely accept what was placed before them, but to think for themselves, no matter how familiar it looked on the outside. Some of it was acceptable, but some of it was not.