It is a truth universally acknowledged that a rainy day becomes much cheerier when one is in possession of a turquoise umbrella.


See Swimmy. See Swimmy Swim.

Remember the classic "Dick and Jane" stories for beginning readers? You know, the whole "See Dick run" fluff? Uh huh. That cover-your-yawn-with-one-hand stuff. Dry, brittle stories that would have put my five year old self to sleep. In my opinion, it would have been so much more clever to write a detailed back-story for an adult to read aloud about how Dick ran in the county fair race and later became a world famous athlete. Then when the beginning reader story was given to the child, their eyes would light up with a new sense of appreciation for Dick's speed as they read:

"See Dick. See Dick run."

Gives you chills, doesn't it? Me too. But instead of just providing one example, I came up with my own such story. It's sure to become a hit with the younger crowd. Read this aloud to the kiddos and wait for the accompanying beginning reader's story at the end:

Alexander has a tadpole whom he hath dubbed, 'Swimmy.'  I honored his originality by christening every single tadpole in the backyard 'Swimmy' as well. It might cause some confusion among the amphibious siblings, but hey, there are hundreds of them. Creativity does have its limits after all.

Several such Swimmys have been placed in the care and keeping of yon Mason jars where their growth may be observed day by day.
The bright and happy decor of flower and rainbow stickers give these Swimmys the guts to follow their innermost hearts and to dream big. To believe that anything is possible.

But while tadpoles may swim under the rainbow in Mason jars inside...the outside world is less tame. Less peaceful. Less rainbow-y.

Join us as we travel to the wilds of the O. Family backyard and encounter sights never seen by the public. Until now. *adopts best 'Animal Kingdom' narrator voice*
Past the back steps, past the club house, past the swing set, there lies a lush garden. It is beyond this garden that we must venture...
...While the locals watch in fear.

Once filled with the sound of laughter and splashing feet, this abandoned kiddie pool now lies barren of all activity. Human activity, that is.

Smiling, colorful creatures surround the pool's perimeter, their care-free appearances sparking interest from the insect population nearby. But one must beware the siren's song, shy away from the sunny exterior. For everything is not what it seems and it is inside the pool where danger lurks just below the surface.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Swimmys scout these waters, watching and waiting for some hapless insect to land in hopes of a drink from the forbidden pool. It is then that the Swimmys strike.

Perhaps metamorphosis is a grueling business, a daunting task. Whatever the reason, the Swimmys' hunger is always present, always lingering...and must be appeased. With the speed and accuracy of a great white, they dart as one through the water when something, anything happens to fall into their pool of doom.

Swimmys are not contained to the inside of the pool, oh no. For the rim has fallen in some places, giving the Swimmys an opportunity to search for victims. Notice one such Swimmy cruising along, his body casting an ominous shadow. When an insect makes the fatal mistake of drawing near, he shoots forward and drags it beneath the surface.

These are the stories of dismantled bumblebees, dismembered grasshoppers, and annihilated ants that insect mothers tell their children at night to make them behave.  And make them behave it does.

Here several Swimmys discuss the discomfort of metamorphosis, seemingly unaware of anything besides their intriguing conversation. But it is all a charade, for their eyes are ever watchful, biding their time and waiting for a chance to feed.

 *insert 'Jaws' soundtrack*
The circle of life often seems cruel and harsh, but these Swimmys must do what they can to survive, their fangs and fierce determination earning them the title of "Piranhas of the Kiddie Pool." Insects (as well as human children) should educate themselves to the ways of these creatures, these Swimmys. For ignorance can be deadly. And in the kiddie pool in the O. Family backyard, there are no second chances.

The End.

*cheerful smile* And here is the promised story for beginning readers. Let the kids read after you've finally convinced them that tadpoles are not the equivalent to piranhas.

See Swimmy. See Swimmy swim.

Wonderful, isn't it? For added effect, ask the child to read aloud doing their best James Earl Jones impression, followed by a diabolical chuckle. They'll be begging for more stories in no time.

I really should write my own curriculum.

3 thoughts:

MaKenna Morgan said...

Erin, just you wait - you'll be famous yet! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

MaKenna DeVore

Kristin said...

This was hilarious. :)


Joni said...

You are too much fun, Erin. I shall forever more shiver at the mere sight of a tadpole...