I was reminded of this book when I took Norah and Alfred to Eagle Lake Park during Christmas break.
First off, the kids here are moving constantly, sometimes without direction, thought or meaning. Kids, I guess, seem to need to twitch, move, gyrate, squirm, dangle, bend or snap without any reason whatsoever. This is spooky.
Here is Miss Norah dangling. In the world in which a kid inhabits and is totally unknowing to adults, she insisted on wearing a dress even when told to wear park apparel. Naturally no on else was wearing a dress so we'll put this in the "different drummer" category.
I tried to steer them away from the other kids at the park area and toward other things like an old tree which seemed like a nice climbing adventure, but fraught with potential dangers. Trying to explain to Mother why their kid fell out of a tree and that teeth aren't necessary when eating ice cream led me to rethink this adventure.
I then thought a walk over to the lookout to see the turtles swim over begging for food might be a worthy time-eater. Turns out turtles floating gets old rather quickly to kids and so back to the teeming mass of kids swinging, jumping, climbing, sliding and mauling.
Alfred enjoying her first kettle swing. You know, those safety swings that look like a kettle with holes for legs.
The first part of any societal breakdown is to become part of a group. These guys adopted Alfred into their unholy alliance. Don't be deceived by their cute smiles. They are evil.
After rescuing Norah from the girl group she proceeded to find a spot and begin stuffing wood chips into her britches.
I began looking at these hungry vultures circling overhead with hope that they may cull the weak, the young or the sick from the herd. Sadly, that didn't happen and after an hour of fretful watching my charges, we left intact and safe from stardom in Lord of the Flies 2.
ADDENDUM: We returned two days later to recapture that magic, but sadly, we came home early because Miss Norah was inconsolable and teary-eyed: her friend ditched her for another Fly. Such is the way at the playground, and life itself.