Lately they've been into these Vietnamese books that we picked up when we were more invested in teaching them their mom's mother tongue. But they don't want Mom to read these books to them in Vietnamese. They want me to make up stories to go with the pictures. "Talk to it, Daddy!" they demand. "What's the piggy say, Daddy? What's they guy say? What's the flower say?"
I don't mind making up the stories, but recently I've been turning the tables on them, and asking them to tell me what's happening in the books. In addition to interpreting the pictures, they borrow character names and tropes from other books. When they get stuck, I give them some guidance, usually in ways that make the story more ridiculous.
Through this method of collaboration, we have come up with a pretty consistent narrative for this book, whose title translates to something like Strong Chewy Piece of Noodle. Most of the dialogue was created by the kids. I'm better than them at exposition.
|The Strong Chewy Noodle|
|One morning, Raja the red elephant was taking his noodles to the restaurant in the village.|
|As he walked, the end of his noodle got caught on a mango tree.|
|He crossed the ravine and the noodle kept unraveling.|
|By the time he got to the restaurant, the bowl was empty. "Hey! Where's my pasta?" said Mr. Hippo|
|"You can't go on the swing," Re-punzel Bird said to Tianna Bird. "It's my turn." The swing was made of noodle.|
|Then Sally Pig came down the road and said, "Hey! Can I eat that pasta?"|
|After she ate all the pasta, she got big and round like a ball. She wasn't s'posed to eat all the pasta.|
|Then Re-punzel and Tianna had to push and pull Sally.|
|They went to the doctor's office. The doggy (is that a doggy?) pulled the pasta noodle from Sally's mouth.|
|The doggy and the kitty and the birds pulled on the noodle some more, all the way outside. "Heave! Ho! Heave! Ho! Heave! Ho!" The flower said, "Hello!"|
|Then the piggy went to restaurant. He wasn't round like a ball anymore. "Oh no!" He said.|
|He didn't want to eat the strong chewy noodle.|