One of Leo’s favourite books is J’y vais, and we read it at nap and/or bedtime a lot of the time. In the book, a little bird tells various other birds, “J’y vais!” and then they give him something he may need. In the middle, he meets this squirrel who asks if the bird wants his umbrella. Unlike the other birds offering items (like the grandmother bird who offers biscuits in case the little bird gets hungry), he doesn’t give a reason for why the little bird may need an umbrella – just says, “want my umbrella?” This has led to many conversations with Leo wherein we discuss the squirrel’s motives.
- Maybe the squirrel just feels left out. All these birds have something to offer, and he wants to be included. Maybe it’s his way of trying to make friends or fit in.
- Maybe he’s an introvert and doesn’t know what to say. I know there have been times when I’ve said something that didn’t necessarily fit the situation because I got shy and nervous and didn’t know what to say.
- Maybe he’s new to this tree and doesn’t understand the customs. Maybe he’s thinking, “hmm, this little bird goes up to others to say he’s going, and they give him something for his long journey. Maybe that means I’m expected to give him something for his journey, too. Maybe he’s making a pilgrimage. All I have is this umbrella, so I’ll give him that.” This could also explain why he uses the wrong word, saying “mon” instead of “ma.”
- Maybe he’s some kind of shady character. I mean, it’s perfectly sunny, but not too sunny thanks to the shady tree, yet this squirrel has an open umbrella. Why? Is he selling stolen umbrellas? Is he trying to start a new fashion trend? Who knows?!
- Maybe the little bird is a con artist. He just says, “j’y vais,” without specifying that he only means he’s going as far as the toilet. Everyone assumes he’s going on some longer jaunt and therefore give him something for his journey. Maybe he’s just trying to see what he can get, and he sees this squirrel’s umbrella and wants it.
See, proof and being very tired and reading a story to a pre-schooler can lead to many hilarious conversations and thoughts.