Definitely, one of the joys of reading together as a family is the shared vocabulary that works its way into our conversations. Words, snippets, phrases, that carry on beyond the books they are a part of. A lovely secret code, as it were, carrying so much meaning and memory and warmth and humor, which when spoken, immediately lassoes the thoughts and feelings of those who were a part of the reading-time, drawing us together again and again.
In our household, we all know what we mean when we call Dad a bisybackson, and you do too, if you’ve read enough Pooh Bear. We smile together when we say our sweet dog, Freya, is “being Ferdinand” when we see her sitting and smelling the peonies. We name the islands and bays near our lake-cabin, with names like Sal’s Island, and Dick’s Bay, and know these refer to blueberries and loon nests respectively. And with that knowledge, somehow there also flows an enormous wave of affection for one another and the happiness of reading snuggled up on sofas, sitting around campfires, or smooshed into igloos in the backyard.
Today, I thought I’d list a few of the snippets we commonly bandy about in our family, and the books they come from. I’d love to hear what has made its way into your family’s conversations…
“carry me, carry me” — this must be said in a moaning, whining tone; used when a family member doesn’t feel like doing a task they are supposed to do and no one really feels a bit sorry for them! — from Angel Mae, by Shirley Hughes
We are not talking about gorsebushes!
“I am,” said Pooh. — First phrase said in a stern voice, second in a very meek voice; used when the subject of a conversation is abruptly switched or hopelessly muddled — from Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne
The moral of Pierre is CARE! –said very brightly! — used, obviously, in response to someone saying they don’t care! –from Pierre, by Maurice Sendak
I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them SamIAm! — used when a new, intimidating food is at hand — from Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss
I am poor and hungry here, eating prunes and rice… said in a pathetic, mournful tone; used when someone is having a pity party; from A Baby Sister for Frances, by Russell Hoban
I like red because red is best! said in a self-explanatory tone of voice, to which no further logic can be applied — from Red is Best by Kathy Stinson
PROBLEM! — this must be shrieked in a grating tone of voice; used when a glitch in a plan has suddenly been discovered! — from Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini
Be vigitant, I beseech you — a handy piece of advice that always brings a smile — from Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare