There was not very much to interest Sprite in the reading materials on the little table in the doctor’s waiting room. She is not at all interested in the lives of celebrities or winter warmer pumpkin recipes.
So she ended up looking at the children’s picture books and that brought on a heap of questions.
“Is Babar supposed to be an elephant?”
“He doesn’t look like a proper elephant”
“That’s because he is a cartoon character”
A lengthy discussion about cartoon characters followed. We found a Little Golden Book with Walt Disney’s Dumbo the flying elephant in it.
“He’s more like a proper elephant but his ears are too big” said Sprite.
“Why does Babar wear clothes and a crown? That’s just stupid! Elephants don’t wear clothes.”
“That’s right.” I said. “And they don’t usually walk just on their hind legs either. But the author wanted to make Babar look like a human. It is called anthropomorphism”
Then followed a lengthy discussion about the varying degrees of realism in different cartoon animals and people.
“So….” said Sprite. “If a cartoon person looks more like a real person it is more realistic but if a cartoon animal looks more like a real person it is less realistic?”
“I guess so.”
“And how realistic does it have to be to be real? Am I real? How do we know what is really real?”
I remembered our youngest son at the age of four during a long car trip asking in a dreamy voice “How do we know that our whole life is not a dream? How do we know what is really real?”
Gifted thinkers ask some huge questions!