It only took twelve days to hit our first Beatrix Potter book – and it definitely won’t be our last. “The Tale of Benjamin Bunny” finds Peter Rabbit and his cousin Benjamin sneaking into Mr. McGregor’s garden to steal Peter’s clothes back from Mr. McGregor’s scarecrow. Along the way the two adventurers become trapped under a basket by the McGregor’s cat but are freed by Benjamin’s father and eventually make it home safe and sound. We love these little books, and were reminded just how fun it is to hold and read them when we purchased a copy of this particular story at a toy store today. We read it together over dinner – as a replacement for our original Day 12 book (the book list and Excel file for January have been updated) – and are now thinking that we might need to purchase or borrow the entire Beatrix Potter collection; we have the stories in a compilation, but there is something special about reading these stories from the individual books.
We made quite a bit of progress in Huck Finn today as well. First Huck and Jim get lost in the fog and pass Cairo, Illinois (their intended turn-off for the Ohio River). Then they are separated as a steam boat plows through their raft. Huck thinks Jim is dead and goes ashore where he is adopted by the Grangerford family. The family, although slave owners, seem nice enough and life with them is pleasant…until Huck learns about their feud with the Shepherdson family. Huck’s pal Buck Grangerford can’t explain the reason for the feud, but he seems comfortable with the idea that at any time a Shepherdson or a Grangerford may choose to shoot the other and it is entirely understandable and within the “rules”. Huck finally discovers that Jim is alive and that the slaves on the Grangerford plantation have been getting him food and keeping him apprised of Huck’s whereabouts. Eventually, young Sophia Grangerford runs off with Harney Shepherdson, which leads to a gunfight in which Buck and his cousin are killed while Huck hides in a tree just above them. Horrified, Huck finds Jim and they take off down the river again.
Later, we were introduced to a couple of very colorful characters who join Huck and Jim on their journey. “The Duke” and “The King” are two scam artists who like to pretend that they are descended from European royalty – and like to be treated as such by Huck and Jim. Our heroes picked up these two grifters as they were on the run and are playing along with their charade. They provide for some entertaining dialogue and escapades, but we are concerned that at any minute these self-styled aristocrats will see an opportunity to better their situation by betraying Huck and Jim.