Now, for today’s lesson:
2. inclined to teach or lecture others too much: a boring, didactic speaker.
3. teaching or intending to teach a moral lesson.
4. didactics, (used with a singular verb) the art or science of teaching.
If you were to read Scarlet Whisper’s origin story (Action Comics #666), you’d learn that as a child, I attended Sunday School every week.
In these moral fiber knitting sessions, sweet little old ladies shared a lot of “application stories.” Some sort of flip chart, poster board, flannel graph, or book story was presented in order to “teach a lesson.”
These stories were didactic by design.
They were also usually boring.
Take a gander at some of the lovely illustrations from actual examples.
Maybe that’s why I always hated those stories. When a book does all the heavy lifting, by answering all the important questions, what is left for the reader to do?
The best stories allow the reader to grapple with questions and issues for themselves. The message is oblique and awaits discovery.
Maybe that’s why my favorite application story was never Grandma Takes Rainbow Kitty to the Dentist or Too Much Candy for Tommy Tuttle.
Instead, I always prayed the little old ladies would read The Giving Tree again. The spare illustrations and simple words leave a lot the imagination, but it’s Shel Silverstein’s message which stayed with me all these years.
I’d love to know what you think about the modes and messages of books.
Hungry for more?
Check out this wonderful discussion on didactism in children’s literature. And you might enjoy my Seven Layer Bars. These gooey sweet treats are a lot to chew on.
Seven Layer Bars
1/2 cup real butter
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup milk choc. chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet choc. chips
1 cup coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Heath or Skor toffee bits
Melt the butter, pour into a 9 by 13 pan. Layer the rest of the ingredients in the order above. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Binge!