Sunday, August 26, 2012

From Down Under to the Moon

Maybe it was the 7lb. bag of brown sugar that I recently bought at Costco that inspired Catherine to imagine a beach made of brown sugar.  She managed to sneak into it a few times before we caught on!

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Catherine.  She liked to go to the beach.  One day she went to a new beach.  It was unlike any beach she had ever been to before.  The sand wasn’t normal sand, it was brown sugar!  She started to eat the sand.  It was delicious.  She couldn’t stop.  She ate her way all the way through the brown sugar beach and all the way through the earth.  When she stopped, she burped a burp as loud as thunder.  Then, she looked up.  She saw lots of kangaroos.  She realized she was in Australia.  

An enormous kangaroo hopped up to Catherine and said, “G’day, mate.”  Catherine smiled and said hello back.  She explained that she was visiting.  The kangaroo said his name was Buddy and that he lived there.  He said he would show her around.  He said they could go faster if she didn’t mind riding in his pouch.  Catherine had always wanted to ride in a kangaroo and so she eagerly climbed in and Buddy showed her around.

Buddy was a very fast kangaroo.  He liked to jump too.  He could jump higher than any of the other kangaroos he knew, but he was still disappointed.  He told Catherine, “there’s that cow that jumped all the way to the moon and if a cow can do it, I want to too.”  

Catherine was good at figuring out tough problems.  She had an idea.  “How about a trampoline?  We could try that.”  Buddy agreed and they found a trampoline.  When Buddy jumped on it, he jumped higher than ever before, but it still wasn’t high enough for the moon.

Catherine thought harder and harder.  Then she decided she knew what to do.  She went to the store and bought rocket shoes.  She fitted them to Buddy and filled them up with rocket fuel.  They put on their helmets and counted down.  3-2-1 blastoff!  Up, up, up they went until they reached the moon.  They looked around.  Catherine had seen pictures of the moon, but it was interesting to see it up close.  She saw the giant craters and even the American flag from the astronauts who had been there.  She and Buddy liked the moon, but they liked the earth even more.  Fortunately Catherine had remembered a parachute so she put it on Buddy and climbed back into his pouch.  With a gigantic leap, they took off for home.

Instead of landing back in Australia, they took a quick turn and landed back in Georgia.  Buddy liked being with Catherine so he decided to stay at her house.  Catherine was very lucky because now she had a new friend and she never had to ride in a car to school like all the other kids.  She rode in Buddy the kangaroo.  They lived happily ever after.

Catherine is familiar with the cow jumping over the moon reference and so that helped her suspend disbelief even more with the idea of a kangaroo wanting to jump over the moon.  She has studied Australia in school and since kangaroos are such interesting animals, it seemed appropriate that she meet one.  If your child knows about NASA, perhaps your rocket shoes could come from there.  A magic pogo stick could also work.  There are plenty of possibilities.  The best details are the ones that are most familiar to your listener.      

There are several opportunities for fictional stories like this one to segway into conversations about some exciting realities.  Children who are curious about kangaroos and Australia might enjoy seeing Australia on a globe and pictures of kangaroos.  Children who like to imagine about the moon and outer space may find a conversation about how humans travel to and survive in space intriguing.  The magic of YouTube brings so many opportunities for on-demand learning.  I love that a few moments of searching can bring you live footage of everything from the moon to the bottom of the ocean.  I feel old to say “when I was your age we didn’t have computers” to my kids, but nobody did!

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