Listen closely… Do you hear it? Ca-caw ca-caw ca-caw! Ca-caw ca-caw ca-caw! Ca-caw ca-caw ca-caw!
If you’ve walked into Budding’s on a Thursday afternoon recently, you might have heard sounds bordering on cacophony. Of course, loud noises are no surprise in a daycare; however, these particular noises are the crows of a group of ravens, otherwise known as an unkindness.
Their leader, the feathery, dark, and handsome capital-R Raven, has taken his friends on a long and winding journey across the Fantasy Forest. Thursdays, our Fantasy Forest crew have been answering Raven’s call and solving the many riddles he’s laid out for them.
Last Thursday saw our Fantasy Foresters explore the classic Mexican folktale The Lizard and the Sun by Alma Flor Ada. Much like Raven’s own story, this tale revolves around a sun which has disappeared from the sky. After it goes missing, the animals go searching for the sun among the rivers, lakes, forests, and jungles of the ancient Maya civilization. After trying and failing to find it, all the animals give up except the faithful lizard.
Like the animals, our Big Kids searched high and low for the sun last Thursday, embodying the animals of the story. Mason took flight as an eagle and Heron slithered around in search of the sun as a lizard. After listening to Raven’s clues carefully, they discovered the fiery orb hiding in a basket of balls, not unlike the lizard in our story, who found the sun among a pile of rocks.
In the folk tale, the emperor organizes a feast to celebrate the lizard’s discovery. At Budding’s, we celebrated with a feast of “lizard snacks” a.k.a. pasta with avocado-garlic sauce. Despite its reptilian appearance, the sauce was a bonafide hit!
After chowing down on our snacks, we continued the festivities with a Mayan dance party beneath the piano box pyramid in Budding’s front room. As we danced, the sun rose higher in the sky until it reached the top of the pyramid, just as it did in The Lizard and the Sun.
Join us this Thursday and next for the final two installments of Fantasy Forest. We have more tales to read, more riddles to solve, and a castle waiting for us at the end of it all!
The raven is a key part of many Northwest Coast legends and stories. He is a trickster, symbolizing change in life, creativity, and humour. A key figure in Northwest Coast legends, the raven is involved in many creation stories and is also recognized as the bringer of light.
Our Raven is just as wise, and also just as tricky. Every Thursday, in his humorous way, Raven brings us a new riddle. With the solving of each of these riddles, the Big Kids uncover another of the princess’ lost jewels and progress one step closer to her castle at the end of the Rainbow Road.
Raven’s riddles are not for nothing. They prompt us to wonder, learn, and explore folk and fairy tales from around the world. In the first Fantasy Forest class, we trekked to Burnaby’s Central Park to read Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest by Gerald McDermott to set the stage for our class. As we settled in to read our book at the foot of towering western hemlock, we could hear the caw of ravens overhead. Sure, they might have been crows…but it’s so much more fun to think they were ravens, bidding us safe passage on our Fantasy Forest adventure!
Thursdays this summer, we will answer Raven’s call and continue our journey on the Rainbow Road. Join us as we “leave the nest” to explore folk and fairy tales from far and wide!
The summer season is full of stories, and the classics, that call to us from our own childhoods are sometimes darker than they at first appear.
Join Sarah and the kids for a walk on the wild side, exploring fables and folk tales, fairies and frogs, and all the fantastic elements of our favourite stories.
Stay on the path, and follow closely, every Thursday through July and August.