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My kids are in love with a new book — a charming, hilarious, clever book — in which the new kid in the neighborhood is a slice of bread slathered with peanut butter, endowed with expressive wire-sculpture arms and legs. Lonely young Peanut Butter tries to introduce himself to all the playful foodstuffs on his block without much success until, of course, he finds Jelly.

We hadn’t made it out of the Barnes & Noble parking lot before I realized the image of the final embrace was right out of Plato’s myth of the Androgynes, or perhaps right out of the Symposium‘s smarter descendant, Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

How long do you reckon I have to wait before I use these three examples to explain allusion and intertextuality to my four-year-old and my seven-year-old? Yeah, I thought so, too. Maybe I need more students.

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