No Wonder We’re So Lucky
Last year when we were studying Japan, we had a small statue of Hotei, who is honored as a god of good fortune. He is always represented as disheveled and carrying a floppy sack on his back. People going past wouldn’t even notice him. But that’s the catch-in his sack Hotei carried everything people need to have a happy life, if only they would stop to ask him. This was transmuted by 3- to 6-year-old understanding to mean that Hotei should be hidden somewhere in the room, ready to shower good luck on the unsuspecting person who found him at the bottom of the circle-counting basket or behind the books on the shelf. "And this is my lucky day because I’m going to Dana’s after school."
This year we are studying India, and one day Nikhil brought in a small statue of Ganesh, a Hindu god (It’s Ganeshji, everyone, not Ganesh.), and mentioned that he brought good luck to people, "Just like Hotei." (If I hadn’t been fast, Ganeshji would have been hidden under the sink.) "Just like Hotei," Katie said. "I’ll bet every country has a good luck god."
It starts with a couple of books - One Sun, a book of "terse verse;" a flip book called Carrot Parrot; and little reproducible books called Silly Animals and Silly Animals and Vegetables, with phrases like "cat with bat" or "pears with underwear." This year’s rhyming enthusiasm has reached a critical mass, and we’ve moved beyond "bat with hat" or "car with star." Books of "Silly Things" are being made that are beyond my rhyming experience - or skill:
"Wanda, what’s a good ‘silly thing’?"
"How about ‘bag with a flag’?"
"No, I’ll do ‘skeleton with a pelican.’"
I’ve also seen: