I’m reading a Richard Scarry book to my kids and the story is set in Paris. There’s a drawing of a poster pole: one poster simply says, “Le crayon est sur la table.” This makes me smile, both inwards and out.
Why? This was exactly the kind of thing that school books were filled with when I was learning French as a kid. The cat is under the chair. The ball is in the wardrobe. The crayon is on the table.
On Scarry’s poster pole, there’s even a helpful picture of… a crayon on a table. Like it’s a message in itself – what more do you need? Language books almost had me expecting to see this sort of thing when I finally made it to Paris as a grown-up. And in Scarry’s world, it makes perfect sense.
But I really can’t explain the joke to my kids. They’ll just have to wait and see for themselves.