I love picnics. I don’t know if it was my first picnic, but it is the first one I can remember. We ventured into the Black Forest in Germany. I remember the sun-dappled forest floor and the wooden hamper with the leather straps that held the plates and cutlery in place. I remember the the scratchy wool plaid blanket and the red thermos from which my parents drank coffee. I remember my baby sister. But mostly I remember knowing that I was in the very woods in which Hansel and Gretel lost their way. My father confirmed it. He also pointed out that these were the woods where the woodcutter let Snow White go and where a prince later found her. The very woods. He didn’t need to remind me that there was probably a wolf behind a tree waiting for a little girl to come skipping down the path.
I love picnics. We had a picnic yesterday to celebrate Mother’s Day. We, four generations of us, sat in the lush green of Libby Park. I asked my mother if she remembered that picnic the Black Forest so long ago. She remembered it vividly.
It was long ago and far away and yet these woods are very present in Room 204 this week. We have started a genre-study of Folk and Fairy Tales. Our anchor texts are from the Brothers Grimm, untouched by Disney. Children need these stories to deepen the well and broaden the landscape of story and literature. This week we will go deeper into these woods as readers and writers. We won’t get lost. I know the way.
And so do you. Let me know the name of your favorite folk or fairy tale.