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A Five-Color Minimum

F: Um, Cory, why is Moon-Face’s house a white circle?

A few nights a week, Daddy reads The Magic Faraway Tree to the twins. After a chapter, they sit together at their art table, each to draw a picture depicting something from the chapter they just heard. They must use at least five colors, and the picture must contain “lots of detail.”

F: Cory, do you think this is enough details for Daddy?
C: Um, let me see. (Seeing.) Fisher, I think you could do some more with this tree because the tree has all those ladders in it.
F: Oh! Thanks, Cory. I’ll put some ladders in.

They apply finishing touches. “Ready, Daddy!” Fisher sits with his picture next to Daddy, while Cory hangs hers up on the filing cabinet for her presentation. She explains that she drew Moon-Face’s house, the branches of the tree, the grass, the sky, and Saucepan Man’s sauce pans falling down through the hole. Oh, and there are two orange circles with black dots in the middle to indicate two owls nests. They weren’t in the story, but she knows Daddy likes owls.

C (picking her lip): So, does anyone have any questions about my picture?
D: Yes, Cory. What are the green wiggles along the branches of the tree?
C: Oh! So, those are leaves. I didn’t have time to draw each leaf, so…(pause)…Fisher, do you have a question?
F: Um, Cory, why is Moon-Face’s house a white circle?
C (more lip-picking): So, I drew it to be a circle because his house is in the shape of the circle. It’s round, so…
F: Oh, I see. But, why is it white?
C (looking a little put off, resuming to pick): Um, well, I just made it white.
F: Did Moon-Face paint it white?
C: Um, he might have.
F: Or was it always just white?
C: Um, I think that…
F: I think he did. I think Moon-Face painted it white. That’s a very good detail, Cory.
C (quietly through her hand): Thanks, Fisher.
D: Very nice presentation, Cory. Very nice!

She smiles as they switch places. Daddy elects to keep it all positive for now, resisting the urge to nip the nervous tic in the bud as Fisher stands up and starts explaining pink grass all around his tree, which, although it wasn’t in the story, was caused by some magic that came from…

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