Little ideas that can be large

20th April 2007 at 01:00
Children love the idea that tiny beings might exist. Years ago when my daughters were children they watched The Borrowers on television. Daisy claimed she had seen a Borrower in the kitchen. So we made a tiny envelope and wrote a mini letter. Magically, the Borrowers replied.

Poppy then told her school friends that we had a colony of Borrowers living in our house. Every day she came home, clutching more letters. The correspondence got out of hand so I pretended the Borrowers were on holiday.

In Gulliver's Travels, the Emperor orders a list to be drawn up describing the contents of Gulliver's pockets. His watch is described as "a great silver chain with a wonderful kind of engine at the bottom... fastened to that chain appeared to be a globe, half silver and half of some transparent metal; for on the transparent side we saw strange figures circularly drawn... he put this engine to our ears, which made an incessant noise like that of a water-mill; and we conjecture it is either some unknown animal or the God that he worships".

Other objects on the list included Gulliver's snuff box, pistols, razor, purse, gold coins and sword. Get the children to be the Lilliputians and write short descriptions of each of these for the Emperor

Pie Corbett is a literary consultant

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