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Savvy Six-Year-Old Sums Up Classics

If you haven’t already read this, get ready to grin. The StrollerDerby blog has a great post by Sunnychanel, who noticed that her six-year-old daughter was always picking up books and asking her to summarize. “Momma, what’s this book about?”

So, bribing her with something called a “Calico Critters Zack and Sandy Beaver set”, as she admits at the end of the post, Sunnychanel had the frankly fantastic idea of having her daughter – inexperienced, unbiased, unfiltered – guess what she thought the books were about, from their covers, and presented her with a big stack of very well-known books. Results as follows.

The Great Gatsby

“I think it’s a book about a haunted theme park and it stars a magical magic guy and he’s good and evil and he’s trying to get rid of the ghosts. And I think at the end, since it’s haunted by a ghost, he tried to make the park go on fire and it did. ”

To Kill a Mockingbird

“It’s about a guy that tried to kill a mockingbird but he couldn’t because the bird was magical. And the bird lives in different trees because he’s trying to hide from him but the man keeps hitting leaves that look like the mockingbird, but he never shoots the mockingbird. And guy is really bad but the bird is really good. ”

Animal Farm

“It looks like a book for kids. I think it’s about a donkey and a pig that do not like each other and they both live on a farm for animals. The same farm. It looks like it would be a funny book with a good really nice ending. ”

Fahrenheit 451

“I think this is about a gigantic robot who goes on fire and he doesn’t like himself. It has a sad ending. It looks like a book for teens. The title means fire, a really really really big fire since the number is 451, that would mean it was really hot. So the robot must get really hot. Maybe that is why he is so sad.”

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

“I think it’s a book for kiddies, it’s a colorful book. I think it’s about a tiny bird that flew over a cuckoo bird’s nest, that is why it’s named that. It looks like a really sweet kiddy book.”

Jane Eyre

“This is about a girl that goes mining. I don’t know why, but she looks like she would go mining, mining for gold. ”

Moby Dick

“I’ve heard about it before but I have no idea what it is about. I think that on the cover it is an inside out whale (so it’s gross). The book is all about a whale whose name is Moby Dick. ”

The Catcher in the Rye

“It doesn’t really have a story. The cover is weird. It doesn’t give you like any clue to what it is about on the cover, like other books do. ”

Steppenwolf

“That looks VERY CREEPY!!!” (My daughter insisted that there be three, exactly three exclamation points). “It looks like it would be scary and very very strange and about creepy things. The story is about a very very hairy eagle who hangs out with fancy ladies.”

Catch-22

“I think it’s about baseball. A person who likes to play baseball but also takes care of a plane.”

A Clockwork Orange

“It’s about a person who is a robot, a very colorful robot. He’s pretty fancy for a robot.”

Wuthering Heights

“It looks weird. I think this must be a book about a tree. I would not read a book about just a tree. And it looks like it’s a sad tree too since it has no friends.”

Brave New World

“This book is about the future. I think the future will all be robotics becasuse that’s what it’s like in cartoons, so the book would be like that.”

Lord Of the Flies

“This is all about a tiny town, beneath the ground. And it looks like it has a lot of people in the town. I think they live in Africa. It looks like a fun book for kiddies! Teens! All ages!”

On the Road

“I think it’s about a car. A car that goes to Mexico, Indonesia and other places. It’s about a car that goes on all sorts of adventures. The guy on the cover is a teen, he likes to drive people places a lot. And he’s French.”

The Color Purple

“This book has to be about the color purple. I think it’s a baby book. It looks like it would be very short. I think there must be a blob of purple that lives in that house. And the purple blob just stays in its home and is lazy. I think it looks like a very boring book.”

Atlas Shrugged

This is about Daydis (her spelling it’s actually – Daedalus). He is an ancient god guy who prays a lot. This book is about him crying. He is crying because he doesn’t like himself at all, because he hates himself. It looks like a saddy, saddy, saddy bookie.”
Note: she loves Greek Mythology at bedtime hence the Daedalus reference. And really, who doesn’t?

One Hundred Years of Solitude

“I think this book is about a sprite that lives in the forest. And she meets a lion, a tiger a bear and a mouse. She also meets a leaf and a tree, it’s a magical book but for teens.”

The Fellowship of the Rings

“This book is about a tree on a hill. The tree is the star of the book and it’s a very nice tree but everyone else is mean. I think the tree has a magical ring and some evil guys capture the ring and put him on the top of the hill so they can watch him. ”

Fifty Shades of Grey
(I know, this is not a classic, but I was curious what she thought this book was about from its simple cover.)
“On the cover is a very weird looking Zebra. The book is about a zebra that wears pants. It’s a drama book about this zebra guy who likes to go fishing for aces.

(And no, I have no idea what she meant by any of that either. )

Posted by on July 19, 2012.

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