As you might recall, Guy really likes to write stories. Last year, he created a story about a robot who burns down a forest with a fire "that could never be put out"--a true tear-jerker--...and he dedicated the story to yours truly. (...wait a minute!)
Anyway, Guy's passion for robots shifted to soldiers this year, thanks to his close friendship with the son of a veteran. So, we've been getting war sequences in various forms over the last year or so from Guy. He's been known to cut uncanny replicas of toy soldiers and tanks out of green paper and tape them all over the walls of our house, blurring the lines between art and life for all of us.
Currently, he is working on a war story in a hardcover Bare Book. This battle scene was inspired by a WWI photo found in the book Truce by Jim Murphy that we are reading as part of our 100 Books of Summer.
I watched Guy studying the photo for a while one day, and then he went to work recreating it and using it as the setting for his story. He even pointed it out to me and compared his drawing to the one in Truce, so there was no doubt about his inspiration.
Guy has graduated to writing words to his stories along with the pictures, but I started to tire of telling him how to spell the same words over and over again (mostly sound effects!): boom, woosh, pow, crashed, tree, soldier.
So, I created a key for him to reference. It's worked well so far, but today, I decided to add to his key, inserting words that might steer the story toward a more peaceful resolution. I tried to be sneaky about my motives, but Guy just looked at me and said he'd use all the words, except cat.
In general, I don't like to interfere with my kids' passions too much. Instead, I like to tap into their talents and interests to help them learn. I'm glad Guy's interest in soldiers is helping him learn to read and write. However, I wouldn't mind it if Guy started drawing something other than war before he heads to Kindergarten next year. His teacher might not be as open-minded as I am about his artwork! For now though, we are all enjoying his creative displays and love watching his imagination bloom into full-fledged stories all of his own making.