When a five year old announces they want to write their own encyclopedia, your first reaction is probably to ask them if they've been outside too long in the sun, or if they're absolutely sure they know what an encyclopedia is. This was Anna though, and when it comes to academics, the girl means business.
She wanted to write an Animal Encyclopedia - a page for each letter, and three animals to a page. I did not expect us to get much past E is for Elephant, but here we are at V and we are rapidly approaching the 'Zooble purchase' (don't ask) which I had promised for a completed project.
I think the inspiration was a lovely book bought for Anna by my friend Jen called 'My Very Own Name' where her name is spelled out by animals who each bring along a letter. She loves that book.
She has had a lot of fun with this project, and Lord knows she is getting more out of it than she is at school. For each letter we google pictures of animals, and she suggests a sentence describing the creature. Each sentence is completely her own thoughts - and I have some favourites such as 'An alligator can sneak up on you' and 'Dogs have wet noses'. Some letters have been challenging. 'I' was a toughie, and we resorted to googling 'animals beginning with i' which is how we came to be sitting there wondering what to write about an ice fish (answer - 'an icefish is very hard to find').
We had the same trouble this weekend with 'v'. Vulture was an obvious pick, vole was considered but rejected, Anna usually picks fierce over fluffy, velociraptor was discounted because it's extinct, then we saw 'vixen'. Perfect.
So there I was, my five year old perched on my lap, while I googled 'vixen photos'.
"Oh shit" I said as 100 variations of Madame Spankalot appeared on our screen.
"Silly computer" Anna said "we said vixen and it thought we said rock star!"