March 10, 2010

Spies, Blue Bloods, and Japanese Kittens

We now interrupt our regularly scheduled program to bring you this announcement:

Sweet P just finished the third in a series of teen spy books by Ally Carter. The first is titled, I'd Tell You I Love You but then I'd Have to Kill You. When I asked if they were anything like Harriet the Spy, Sweet P tried to conceal her eye-rolling.

"I like how she describes, like, spy gadgets and stuff," Sweet P says of Carter. "There's a bunch of cool stuff that's interesting."

Did I mention Sweet P is thirteen?

After a quick Googling, I was unable to ascertain whether these books are written by committee, (sigh), but not too long ago Sweet P announced that she had no interest in reading -- partly, we now understand, because her English teacher makes her read story after story about sports (not a hot topic in our house)-- so I'm happy if she picks up anything resembling pages of words.

While waiting for the fourth spy book to arrive from the library she's re-reading the Harry Potter series for what might actually be the 500th time. I need to re-read them so I can keep up with her in-depth HP discussion topics (including, "Why did Dumbledore smile when Harry said that Voldemort took his blood?" Feel free to respond!) but we did have a rousing conversation about plagiarism vs. fair use at the dinner table, and went on to tackle the differences between writing a novel and a screen play or reading a novel and watching the film, because:

Today I finished listening to Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence
on cd. I watched the movie years ago with my mother (the Daniel Day-Lewis version), and all I could remember of it was one big moment-- which I won't describe for those who haven't experienced it-- that came as such a surprise to me. When I was listening, though, I was able to pick up on the foreshadowing I'd missed in the movie, and I wondered if I'd missed the foreshadowing because I'm not really a visual person, or because it wasn't there. I need to see the movie again, I guess. It's been nearly 20 years. R says he picks up on foreshadowing in movies much better than he does in books, and I wonder if that says something about our different learning styles. He's all visual.

I admit that I have tried to read The Age of Innocence, but I get a little antsy with it. I love how there's so much brewing, nearly erupting, underneath the nothing that's happening in Wharton's stories, but it takes a patient soul to wait out the nothingness, and I am short on patience. Maybe that's the result of too much TV. In any case, listening to the book in the car was a perfect solution because I couldn't be distracted by, oh, say, Facebook. Also, I'm really an auditory learner, it turns out, so I may even attempt to listen to Moby Dick one day-- don't hold me to it. Buckaroo doesn't even mind listening to my books most of the time, but I'm sure he'd rather we'd listen to Max and Ruby if he thought it a possibility, which brings me to his picks:

He loves all of the Max and Ruby books by Rosemary Wells, but he particularly likes Max Cleans Up, in which Max's bossy big sister Ruby helps Max clean his room, and when she's not looking (where is their mother, by the way?) Max stuffs his favorite treasures-- sand, ants, gooey goop, and a popsicle-- into his pocket.

I find Ruby rather annoying, but Buckaroo said to R the other day, "I like Ruby. She's bossy." He then went on to point out that I am also bossy, and it just occurred to me that Buckaroo may have been trying to tell R that they are attracted to the same sort of woman.

Buckaroo and I both really enjoy Wells's Yoko books. Yoko is a Japanese kitten who is teased in kindergarten because she doesn't know the English alphabet and brings sushi for lunch. It's hard to know if Buckaroo is learning the lesson of kindness offered at the end of the book or if he's taking away from it that teasing is fun. Time will tell, but we have many conversations about kindness during story time. My favorite of these books is Yoko's Paper Cranes because it's about Yoko moving away from her grandparents and finding a way to show them she loves them-- a subject near to my heart. I thought about teaching Buckaroo to make paper cranes, and then I found a whole lesson plan. The letter writing piece might be a bit advanced, but maybe he could dictate.

And Poor R is not reading anything interesting because he's studying for a big test. Well, maybe he thinks the techie stuff is fun, but it's no Harry Potter, that's for sure. I'd try to explain it, but it's beyond me. He may have his own bloggity blog one day, though, so I'll keep ya posted-- if you're so inclined.


Anonymous said...

ooooo, looks like I'll need to be returning the Potter:) fmf

Anonymous said...

I want to read these to Grandma Irene - It would be light and fun. Grandma Irene enjoys stories of animals and nature. Mom