Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Do You Know What Your Child is Reading?

Blog sister Ana over at Rivers of Blood posted on having seen the new Lemony Snickets movie. She hasn't procreated yet, so she probably had not heard about the books as much as those of us with kids around 4th grade. Her review is that it was pretty cool although she thougth Jim Carrey got annoying...

Yup, that is what I've been expecting, so I will take my kids. But this post has been rambling in my head and her post reminded me...

I have heard NO LESS than three times from Moms who have taken their kids to see this movie because one of their kids has read the books, "Oh it was awful! It was depressing! I was disturbed!"


If you think the movie was disturbing... what in the heck do you think is going on in the books? PULEASE!!! Every Mom knows what those books are about. For those of you NOT in the know, here's a brief synopsis:

Kids' parents die. Weird Uncle they don't know gets custody. He wants to off them for their inheritance. Through cunning the kids continue to outwit sick uncle.

I think that's it. They are kids' books full of kids triumphing over evil and being smart and inventive. This one Mother said to me, "Did you know the kids' parents die?" Well... Yesssss, I did! Geez. So did Harry Potters.

What is with that? I've been having a big discussion with a blogger I respect greatly with regard to children's reading... I know, odd topic, but I am struggling with what to allow my '4th grader reading on a 9th grade level' to read. He runs through Lemony Snickets in a day. When he WANTS to read Lemony Snickets I know what's in those books. This other stuff he picks out... it makes me nervous. (I have a post about this topic alone rattling around in my head.)

So folks, if you're surprised by what you see on the big screen knowing your kids are reading those books, perhaps you should pick one up and give it a read. They're quick reads. They're written for 4th graders.


Blogger Harvey said...

4th grader?

Time for "The Hobbit".

That's when *I* read it. Good stuff.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Anathematized1 said...

Sheesh, when I was that age I had already read The Tropic of Cancer and The Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller, Brave New World, and had run through a majority of Isaac Asimov's sci fi.

My mother had no idea what I was reading, btw...Actually, she beat the crap out of me when she found out I had read her Moby Dick and the two Henry Miller books.

AnyWHO, sorry, but parents who do not have the brain capacity to do a bit of research on something before they let their 4th grader read and/or watch it are pretty sad specimens indeed. I mean, how much effort can it take with books that darned short? By junior high, I was finishing off a 400+ page book a night!! These books probably average 250 pgs each. They are not ominous tomes full of college level vocabulary for crying out loud.

Again, I don't have kids, but I would THINK a responsible parent would take some time away from their tv watching schedule and monitor what their children are reading and/or watching. Take some d*mned responsibility; or at least stop complaining when you don't bother.

(Sorry for the rant, Bou.)

10:11 PM  
Blogger boudica of suburbia said...

A greeting from one boudica to another... If I were you, I'd start him off on the classics. There are thousands of them and most of them are very cheap to buy. They don't really have any sex in either which can only be a good thing. Try some Dickens, they're much easier to read then people think... Oliver Twist or great expectations. If he gets the humour maybe Terry Pratchett might be a good idea.

Good luck

xx Vc

10:22 PM  
Blogger Stu said...

Jim Carey gets on my nerves.

1:25 AM  
Blogger Caltechgirl said...

Well, if you want something he won't get through in 3 minutes how about LOTR? My husband was in 3rd grade when he started them (with The Hobbit). Or the Lloyd Alexander books. Hmmm. A tough one, most of the large books I know that are suitable for that age are girl books.... I'll ask my librarian mom for some suggestions and email you :)

7:38 AM  
Blogger Contagion said...

My oldest read the Series of Unfortunant Events. He liked them, to me I didn't think it was that disturbing. Look at a lot of childrens books and tales. They are filled with parents dying and evil step/foster parents.

As for the LOTR... god what a horrible serries of books to read. Great story, written and edited horribly. Books their size I can usually get through in no more then 2-3 days. Thats with sleeping, eating and working. It took me 2-3 weeks per book because it was just so poorly written and edited.

8:11 AM  
Blogger Quality Weenie said...

While I don't have kids and never will I did start my college years in Elementary Education so I know a bit about teaching kids.

It just floors me when I hear about parents not taking an active role in their childs education, that would include what they are reading. Parents need to be able to direct their kids towards books they know are safe, enjoyable and will teach the kids something.

On that note what about The Hardy Boys series? Or even Nancy Drew? And I agree about the classics, get them started while they are young.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember Judy Blume being one one of my favorite 4-6 grade authors. She wrote great stories like Are you There God, Its me Margaret?, Tales of the Forth Grade Nothing and Suprefudge. Not knowing that Judy Blume also wrote young adult books, several mothers let their daughters buy Forever; this was NOT age appropriate. All of us huddled in the back of the bus reading soft the 5th GRADE! So, check what they are reading...on the other hang son #1 might find out through reading that everyone doesn't do IT doggie style.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Anathematized1 said...

I am in a contrary mood. So, I rescind what I previously wrote and take the following stance: Let the children read near-pornographic material (if it happens to be filled with drug abuse and violence ALL THE BETTER), drink beer, eat Rice Krispie Treats for breakfast, skip school, and please..PLEASE encourage them to join a gang.

Once all of these things are accomplished stand back and blame the media, the government, and the educational system. DO NOT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY REASON!!!!

(Let the boy read Kafka...He will be so confused and depressed he'll cling to you like a leech. Gawd - I love Kafka.)

There were some books...I think they were Newberry Award books that came in sets. We used to get them fairly cheaply through the school and they didn't completely suck - even though they were not my genre of choice. I'd say go with the classics, and feed whatever interests he has (Ex: If he likes flying kites...pick up a book on kites at the library.) That also teaches them informed thought (and decision making). It also gets them into the process of actually RESEARCHING things of interest or note. Makes writing those research papers less droll, lemme tell ya.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James Joyce. James Fennimore Cooper.

1:26 PM  
Blogger VW said...

Bou, I know you 'preread' those books and I agree that there is no reason your kids should stop reading them. Geeze, doesn't anyone remember Bambi??? I know it's a movie, but the concept is the same - and at what age did you see it? Your kids?

And if you really want to rant (like I do), how many taught their kids "Ring Around The Rosie"? Or read them those wonderful kid stories about "The Big Bad Wolf"? Grandma gets eaten and cut out by the wood cutter.

Sigh. If the kids are reading it, it has a good story line and is within what the parent(s) considers acceptable limits, then what is the problem? What I see as the problem is those parents who did NOT read what their kids were reading and then went to the movie and freaked. For shame.

Thru ranting. blhhhhhhhhh

6:58 PM  

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