August 8, 2010

Lucky Penny

"Every man prefers belief to the exercise of judgment."

The House Gobbaleen (Picture Puffins)I love taking Dimples with me to the library because she rarely goes in with any requests.  She walks over to the shelves and picks randomly; then she moves a little further down and picks again.  When her little arms are full, she'll bring them to the desk for checkout.  I sometimes wonder why I don't pick my own books this way!

The House Gobbaleen is one of those great random selections by Dimples from last week.  It's about Tooley and his cat, Gladsake.  Tooley is convinced that all of his luck is bad, but his wise cat thinks it's all in how you frame the situation.  Of course, Tooley doesn't want to hear that, and invites one of the "Friendly Folk" to come stay and bestow some good luck on them.  This particular friendly person isn't so friendly though, and soon Tooley is ready to be rid of him.  The cat encourages him to make his own luck and in the end - Tooley learns to appreciate what he has.  

The timing for this book is spot on.  Funny Girl is newly interested in luck.  Pennies have become symbols of fortune in her eyes.  If she finds one, it's wonderful!  But if she loses it, or someone takes it from her, she gets very upset that her luck will be gone.  As usual with kids, the reasoned approach doesn't work.  She's emotionally connected to this superstition.  Instead of trying to talk her out of it, I let her tell me all about it.  How does this luck work?  Would it work for me too?  Is it only pennies or can other coins bring luck.  Do I get more luck the higher the coin?    What is considered good luck?  And if the penny is lost, what happens?  Can she give me examples of times when her luck ran out?  Does it happen every time she loses her coin?  Has she had bad luck, but not lost the coin?  My hope is that she'll eventually ask herself these questions, and not just about lucky pennies.  I think, questioning your own perceptions is one of the most important, but difficult, lessons of life.

Do you have any book recommendations where the characters have to rethink their beliefs?  I'd love to hear about them.  It's a hot topic at our house right now.

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