Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How Hot is It?

There are many responses that can be given to this question. I like to think of the Saturday Night Live skit when Eddie Murphy imitated James Brown and sang Too Hot for Sittin' in the Hot Tub. Last week I drove by a church sign that told how hot it isn't. The sign said "Actually, it is not hot as Hell." Very clever, I thought. Speaking of church, I've also heard people say "I'm sweatin' like a hooker in a church pew."

The hot, dry weather we have been experiencing has made me think of an excerpt from Blue Willow by Doris Gates. Our librarian read from this book when I was in elementary school. The main character in the story is suffering through some intolerable heat. She reads the story of Noah's Ark to make herself think about the rain. The young girl also enjoys looking at the lush scene on her treasured blue willow plate, and wishes that her surroundings resembled those on the plate.I do not think I ever got to hear the rest of this story, but recalling it makes me want to get a copy and read it with my girls.

A review that I read of this books explains that it was quite innovative. At the time it was written, there was debate as to whether children's literature should contain negative topics. Turns out the young girl was poor, it was the Great Depression; and she faced the possibility of having to part with her most treasured possession. The review made it seem as if this book might have lots of relevance now, when so many people are facing tough economic issues.

Thank goodness Doris Gates had the courage to challenge children with tough themes. I feel that books which cover difficult subjects have helped many young people get through bad times in their lives. Maybe Doris Gates paved the way for Judy Blume. What girl could have ever gotten through puberty without Are you There God? it's me, Margaret ? That book's still hot with young girls. How hot is it? It is hot as a firecracker and hotter than a two-dollar pistol!

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