Friday, May 27, 2005

Dogs as dinosaurs for the under two set

Have you read any Tintin lately? Back in the day when free time wasn’t just an interesting concept to me, and I was on a visit to Switzerland, I would skeddadle down to my favorite French/Italian/German/Romansh bookstore and pick up a Tintin book. In French of course, since it really still is the only language besides English that I can kind of read. I loved Tintin because all the illustrations made it easy to understand – and I only needed to use a dictionary when Captain Haddock started to rant and rave (there are few contexts in which boiled tripe pops readily to mind as a vocabulary word). But today Caroline pulled out Tintin en Amerique and I started to read it to her and quickly got bogged down in Herge’s relentless shoot 'em up version of the U.S. I couldn’t bowdlerize fast enough to convert his ideas of Chicago and the Wild West into something I could enjoy reading to a little kid, and finally we just talked about Tintin’s dog, Milou (Snowy). Look C he’s barking, and look here he’s chasing a cat, and here he is jumping off the cliff after Tintin, but don’t worry, they both grabbed that tree branch so they are okay!

I should have realized that anyone who likes to put on my headphones and listen to the Windows help screen dog bark at her would like to flip through pages of Milou in action. Dogs are the dinosaurs of her almost two year old world, and she’ll talk about them all day. When we go on walks she’ll say woof woof or pejsek very politely to every dog she passes. Fascinated, she may be, but they are still mighty strange to her, and she has rarely gotten close enough to pet a live specimen. Last Sunday a nice dog owner and I tried to arrange a meet and greet for Caroline and his dog. The dog had clearly been through the kid rigamarole before and sat politely panting in the shade, as Caroline darted between me and his tail. When the dog stood to his feet to shake, Caroline quickly swarmed to the top of my head (still don’t know how she did that) using my ears as grips. Five seconds later she was back on the ground trying to talk to the dog again, but by then I thought I’d earned a coffee at our local cafe and the dog had certainly earned his time off for good behavior, so we left dog and owner behind, as C obligingly said bye bye woof bye bye.


E said...

the perfect opportunity to work on C's French ;) (tintin that is)

Matt said...

Tintin's okay but if you want French then Asterix is the only way to go. Full of pretty pictures but also very entertaining for adults. It's got a lot of witty dialog and wordplay, so great for improving your French (if you can get someone to explain it to you). My favorites are "Asterix chez les Romains" and "Asterix et Cleopatre".

Julia said...

I definitely want to find some Asterix - I read Asterix and Cleopatra in English, but so far not in French yet!