Monday, October 29, 2007

The food chain of the animated universe

There's something I've noticed about the animal characters in children's cartoons. Pretty much any animal can be anthropomorphized to some degree, but the idea of animals as food is either ignored or handled in such a way that any food animal is carefully depicted as non-living or not having any kind of personality, for lack of a better word.

For example, the Berenstain Bears refer to eating salmon, although no fish is ever depicted, to my knowledge. The bears of Bear Country are the humans of their own world, owning non-talking cats and dogs as pets.

Likewise, the bears of Little Bear live peacefully with other talking animals, such as cats, snakes, ducks, owls and so on, but are shown occasionally catching, cooking and eating fish.

Timothy Goes to School depicts animals who are sometimes each other's enemies in the real world getting along as friends; aside from an episode in which Yoko the cat brought sushi to school, animals-as-food doesn't seem to come up. (I suppose it could have been vegetarian sushi.)

On the other hand, an informative non-fiction show such as Henry's Amazing Animals doesn't gloss over or disregard the issue of (real) animals eating other animals, presenting it as a fact of their real-world existence.


Oliver: (pointing to a boulder on someone's lawn) What's that?
Me: That's a rock.
Oliver: Actually it's a kind of animal. It has sharp teeth.
Me: Is it asleep now?
Oliver: Yeah. It comes out at night.
Me: Really? What kind of animal is it?
Oliver: Um, it's a camel. It has one hump and two humps and three humps and four humps and no humps.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Oliver explains the weather

Oliver and I were walking one evening when I pointed out how bright the moon was, compared the fogginess of the previous night. He asked why the moon had been foggy, and after I had told him something that was probably scientifically inaccurate, about moisture and clouds, he presented his own interpretation:

I think it's scary animals. Scary animals in the clouds. With sharp teeth.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


At the dinner table:

Mimi: If you eat two carrots and two pieces of cucumber, you can have a fry.
Oliver: Can you put one fry on the side of my plate, in case I need it later?

On the subway:

Woman in elevator: (after Oliver pushes a button) Smart boy. Are you smarter than your dad?
Oliver: Yeah. I'm also a little taller.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fun with words

Oliver's playing around with words a lot these days (turning 'huggy' into 'huh hee', for example), which I don't always find amusing, but he came up with a winner the other day while on the swing at the park:

'I'm in a hot-air baboon!'

Friday, October 12, 2007

One day when we were coming home, there was a police car in the park near our house, so Mimi and Oliver went to investigate (the reason remained unclear, but at least Oliver got to explore).

The next day, Oliver and I had this exchange:

Oliver: Why was there a police car in the park?
Me: Umm, I think it was to check that everything was okay.
Oliver: And there was a computer in there. That's cool.
Me: Yes, that helps the police officers do their work.
Oliver: Yeah. If someone is in trouble, they have to make an e-mail.


Talking about a classmate:

'E's mommy is going to have a baby. I think he's not wearing any clothes now. Just a diaper.'


Oliver spots the 'om' symbol:

'That says three! And that means me! A three and an O!'