Growth And Growing Up -In Children’s Stories

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Trying to stretch upwards

I know we usually talk about growth at spring time but in my part of the world it is autumn/ fall, ( but of course you might be reading this in Australia or New Zealand and it will be spring for you). Anyway, the idea of growth came into my head for this blog. When I started thinking more about growth I thought about how we grow physically and how we also grow in the ways we think and act.

When I started thinking about growth in children’s books I thought of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll and ‘Pinocchio’ by Carlo Collodi. Both stories have been adapted by Disney in their films and there may be some differences with the books.

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland

In this video Alice gets bigger or smaller by eating different things.

‘It was much pleasanter at home,” thought poor Alice, “when one wasn’t always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and rabbits. I almost wish I hadn’t gone down that rabbit-hole—and yet—and yet—it’s rather curious, you know, this sort of life! I do wonder what can have happened to me! When I used to read fairy-tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one! There ought to be a book written about me, that there ought! And when I grow up, I’ll write one—but I’m grown up now,” she added in a sorrowful tone; “at least there’s no room to grow up any more here.”

But then,” thought Alice, “shall I never get any older than I am now? That’ll be a comfort, one way—never to be an old woman—but then—always to have lessons to learn! Oh, I shouldn’t like that!

“Oh, you foolish Alice!” she answered herself. “How can you learn lessons in here? Why, there’s hardly room for you, and no room at all for any lesson-books!”

“Mary Ann! Mary Ann!” said the voice. “Fetch me my gloves this moment!” Then came a little pattering of feet on the stairs. Alice knew it was the Rabbit coming to look for her, and she trembled till she shook the house, quite forgetting that she was now about a thousand times as large as the Rabbit, and had no reason to be afraid of it.’

Alice feels very confused about who she is as she changes size. She is not sure if she is a child or a grown-up. When we are growing up it can be very confusing, especially as we slowly change into adults, and sometimes our feelings can be hard to deal with. It is good to talk about these feelings.


Pinocchio tells lies and his nose grows bigger

Below is the ending of the original story:

Pinocchio ran to the mirror. He hardly recognized himself.
The bright face of a tall boy looked at him with wide-awake blue eyes,
dark brown hair and happy, smiling lips.

Surrounded by so much splendo(u)r, the Marionette hardly
knew what he was doing. He rubbed his eyes two or three times,
wondering if he were still asleep or awake and decided he must be

“And where is Father?” he cried suddenly. He ran
into the next room, and there stood Geppetto, grown years
younger overnight, spick and span in his new clothes and
gay (joyful) as a lark in the morning. He was once more Mastro
Geppetto, the wood carver, hard at work on a lovely
picture frame, decorating it with flowers and leaves, and
heads of animals.

“Father, Father, what has happened? Tell me if you can,”
cried Pinocchio, as he ran and jumped on his Father’s neck.
“This sudden change in our house is all your doing,
my dear Pinocchio,” answered Geppetto.

“What have I to do with it?”
“Just this. When bad boys become good and kind,
they have the power of making their homes gay (joyful) and new
with happiness.”

“I wonder where the old Pinocchio of wood has hidden himself?”
“There he is,” answered Geppetto. And he pointed
to a large Marionette leaning against a chair, head turned
to one side, arms hanging limp, and legs twisted under him.
After a long, long look, Pinocchio said to himself with
great content:

“How ridiculous I was as a Marionette! And how
happy I am, now that I have become a real boy!”

It takes Pinocchio a long time to ‘grow up’, and not to act like a very young child wanting his own way all the time and not thinking about other people’s feelings, or what might happen when he does something dangerous or silly. People call what happens after we have taken a certain action, a consequence. It is only when Pinocchio realises the consequences of his actions, and the fact that he needs the help of others and to consider other people’s feelings besides his own, that he grows to become a ‘real boy’.

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