For about a year I've been amazed at M's ability to memorize tunes and lyrics, and anything that is ever said in her hearing... G learned to read at 3 but never seemed to have that ability to store it all as perfectly. But hey, when you can read faster than your mom and your 7, who needs a perfect memory. Except that he does apparently have an amazing memory. He recently read a collection of fairy tales. It's a great collection with the actual Grimms and Hans Christian Anderson etc published in the 20's. It's about 350 pages and minimal pictures. So it's not light reading really. I haven't made it all the way through it. He read it in 2 evenings. And he's retained a functional knowledge of the stories!
I was reading Hansel and Gretel to M throughout the day because I get really grumpy at night and usually can't make it through even one story. G came along as the children found the candy house. I started to sign what was happening and then he says "Nibble nibble little mouse. Who's that nibbling at my house?"
Honestly it freaked me out a little. How could he have read the whole collection and retained that level of detail? In his own words he has a "really big brain" and things just all fit inside. Great. We had a little talk about how nobody likes you if you go around saying your brain is bigger than theirs. He also spoiled the ending by telling how Gretel pushes the witch into the oven. I had forgotten and I told him not to spoil it for M. She said "I already heard, he said Gretel pushes the witch into the oven."
Basically he's amazing.
And old school fairy tales are really scary. And they are filled with all sorts of mean things said by the bad people who always get what they deserve. So while I shy away from reading such meanness, I believe that they are less confusing than modern stories. When the bad person is really consistently bad, like the gnome in "Snow White and Rose Red" it's ok that they get killed.
Also, the consistent portrayal of step-mothers is a lost message in modern times. In the old days the only way you got a step mother was if your mom died. So of course your real mother would never do that to you and she's dead so she can't protect you. But in modern times, a step mother is often the product of a father who didn't control his passions and is as much a threat to the children as the step-mother. Thank you divorce!