Reading to my children: the Roddy Doyle Experience

 

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The Grinch hated Christmas—
—Why?
—Well, we’ll find out if we keep reading.
—What’s a grinch?
—It’s like a, it’s that thing on the page.
—Is it an animal?
—I guess so. He looks like one. The whole Christmas
—What kind?
—What?
—What kind of animal.
—Maybe a bear?
—He doesn’t look like a bear.
—What does he look like?
—A fish with feet.
—Then that’s what he is. Now, please don’t
—Why’s he living on land?
—Because he’s a fish who can breathe.
—Wouldn’t that make him a different animal then?
—Probably.
—Can we keep reading?
—Gladly. It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right.
—What does that mean?
—It means, like he didn’t think about things the way he should.
—Huh?
—He hates happy things.
—Why? Seriously?
—Why don’t we keep reading and we’ll find out.

 

My father was born and raised right here—
—Who is his father?
—The man who is his father. His dad.
—How old is he?
—Who? The dad?
—Yes.
—I don’t know.
—Can you guess?
—Sure, let’s say he’s 40.
—I don’t think he’s that old.
—35.
—That sounds right.
right here in Florida, so he grew up—
—He lives in Florida?
—I guess so.
—I’ve been to Florida.
—Yes, you have.
—How old is he?
—Who?
—The person talking.
—I don’t know. Let’s keep reading and we’ll find out. ..he grew up on the water. His dad—
—Whose dad?
—The boy’s dad’s dad.
—His grandfather?
—Yes.
—How old is he?
—The grandfather?
—Yes.
—I don’t know.
—He’s probably really old.
—I would expect so.

 

 

…and it said to the dragon, “Buzz off, that’s my witch.”
—Do the scary voice.
BUZZ OFF, THAT’S MY WITCH.
—Dad’s scary voice is scarier.
—Dad has a Scottish accent. Everything he says sounds scarier.

 

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives here in our town.
—In our town?
—No, in their town.
—What town?
—I don’t know. Whatever their town is called.
—Springfield?
—Sure. It’s called Springfield.
—Do they know the Simpsons?
—I’d imagine so.
—I like Lisa.
—Me too.
She is very small—
—Lisa?
—No, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.
—Oh.
She is very small—
—Why is she small?
—I guess that’s just the way she is.
—Is she taller than me?
—Probably.
—But I’m really tall.
—You’re tall for your age but most adults are taller than you.
—So, is she taller than you?
—Sure.
—Like, this big?
—Yup. …and has a hump on her back.
—Eew.
When children ask her about the hump, she says, “Oh, that’s a big lump of magic.”
—Is it?
—Sure.
—Really?
—Well, she’s pretty awesome, so why not.
—How many pages does this book have?
—Too many.

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