CHARLIE IS COMING to our house tonight, along with her parents and two sisters, and her two cousins and their parents. Charlie is the six-year-old daughter of some dear friends of ours. I call her Miss Charles. I do it because Charlie is an unexpected name for a girl, and because I like making it even more unexpected, and because it’s a Southern thang. And we southerners are infamous for needing to do our Southern thang at every opportunity.
But mostly I do it because I’m an older woman now, and one of the perks that accompanies that status is doing things that we can get by with…because we can get by with them.
And y’know, that’s really all I have to say about that.
So our anticipation is high to see Miss Charles and her perky cousin, Lily, along with little Nora, the reigning Premises Nemesis Abi Grace, and Baby David “Sunshine.” (And, meh, their parents are fun too.) Miss Charles’ daddy was the ring bearer in our wedding when he was six. So yeah, our love and bond with these two families goes back a long way.
In 2007, Mr. Green put his You Need a Story recordings on disc. Those are the ones we’ve provided now in a new MP3 collection—all the stories at once, in two volumes.
But at the time, some of our listeners wanted stories on an audio CD—a disc that could be listened to on a regular (non-MP3) CD player—like in the car or on a Walkman, etc.
Regular audio files are much larger than MP3 files and only four of the stories in that format would fit on a disc. So Mr. Green created a CD with four of our favorites:
“The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”
“The Princess and the Puma”
“Jack and the Beanstalk”
“The Elephant’s Child”
Just yesterday, Mr. Green was poking around looking for some of those CDs, remembering that there were a few of them left from those days. Not only did he find some, he found sixty!
Even after we put a few back for our own kids and their families, we’ll still have plenty to do something with, so we’re of a mind to put those up for sale too. We think they’d make great Christmas gifts for families who appreciate timeless stories, good sense of humor, and the magic of a story read aloud.
You may be wondering, then, how does Miss Charles tie in to all this?
A few months ago, when we decided to republish the collections, I told her daddy about it, thinking that she is just about the right age to begin enjoying the stories. He looked me square in the eye and told me that I was way behind. When Miss Charles was about three, Robert had given him one of the CDs and he had started playing it for her at bedtime. Night after night, she fell asleep to the voice of Simon Wheeler’s tale of the jumping frog, or the nasally whinings of the proboscisly challenged young elephant’s child, and the rest of the crew.
Long before she could follow the story line or make any sense of the humor, she could quote long passages of the stories, and over time more and more understanding fell into place. But in the meantime, as is always an inevitable benefit of stories read aloud, she was absorbing the color of language and developing that indefinable way we understand humor.
Recently, her mom told me that when they came across “The Elephant’s Child” in their homeschool readings of Kipling’s Just So Stories, Charlie reported that they could move on because she already knew that story quite well. (Next question?)
Charlie has listened to the CD so many times she’s worn it out. It now skips and has distortions. It’s a good thing we found sixty more in our closet.
If you want one, get em’ here.
We’ve got just enough time to get them to you before Christmas.