Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Miss Hickory


I've spent some time looking for appropriate books to read together with my oldest daughter, age 6. That's why I was so delighted to find "Miss Hickory" on the award winners shelf at our local library. This simple chapter book is a Newberry Award winner (always a good bet), tells a story based on nature and the natural world and the magic of said world, and is full of amazing original lithographs. Success! Waldorf-ish, beautiful, award winning, chapters! Excellent choice.

Move forward one week. We've finished the book. My daughter is delighted, retelling the story at every opportunity, creating her own illustrations, flipping through the pages again and again. Me and my partner - we're a little stunned, because to be truthfull, this is one bizzaro book. Don't get me wrong, I liked it and would recommend it. But sweet? Sort of. Bizarre - absolutely.

Short synopsis: Miss Hickory is a small doll created by a little girl. Her body is a twig. Her head is a hickory nut. The story begins with the little girl and family leaving for the winter, thus leavning Miss Hickory to fend for her self with the help of forest and farm friends. Adventures in the woods abound. Beautiful.

Enter Squirrel.

In a nutshell (ha, ha) Squirrel stalks Miss Hickory through the entire book and get's his revenge (See Squirrel Takes Revenge, Chapter 14) by finally eating her head. Oh my. This doesn't kill Miss Hickory. She's alive just headless. So she just sticks her head, oops, I mean neck, into a cut in a tree and becomes grafted thus giving the tree her gift of life. Ultimately, she helps to provide apples (via her new tree self) to the little girl who made her. Full circle. Bizarre.

I truly thought my daughter would find this terrifying. But no. She finds it hilarious and dead serious. Perhaps I'm too adult and jaded. Or maybe I'm just too cynical or not Waldorfy enough. Whatever. I find this book completely silly and strange. However, we do not mock Miss Hickory, her quirkish ways or her headless predicament. She's become a sort of hero in our home..although, I must confess, we adults giggle about her late at night.

2 comments:

Sara said...

Headless Hickory?! It's kind of like when the fox eats the Gingerbread Man, no? Only there were no headless, living remains at the end of that story... seems freakish and wrong and uncomfortable. But of course now you've piqued my interest so I will have to check it out. ;-)

Lesblogs said...

Kinda like the giving tree (without all that weird codependency....)
nuthead. cool.
read bunnicula lately?