Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Younger daughter wants to be a giant nose for Halloween. That's right, a nose. I've been feverishly trying to sculpt one out of felt and padding for her (see above), but I worry that she is too short, and people, not seeing the nostrils, will think it is... well, some other fleshy part.
The idea came up when I decided to read her The Nose, a short story by Russian author Nikolai Gogol. Now, although it is couched in terms which might be normally difficult for a 6-year-old, the basic premise - that a man (an Inspector of Reindeer, no less) might wake one morning missing his nose, and subsequently see it walking and driving about the streets dressed as a "General and Glorious Governor of Games" - is exactly the kind of thing which appeals to a 6-year-old.
There is no description of how a nose, perhaps two inches long, might later be able to get about as a well-dressed dignitary (one can only imagine it changes size at will); but these completely surreal shifts never bother children. Which is one of the things I like about the way their little brains work.
Curiously, once I began telling people about her costume I found that no one in my community, as far as I know, has ever read Gogol. What a mistake! I am not a big fan of Russian authors, myself, but his short stories are great. Do try this at home, kids.
And, in case you want to innoculate your children at an early age, I find there is now a copy of The Nose specially translated and illustrated just for kids. Pass it on!