Thursday, November 1, 2007

Reading Rainbow

"Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high / Take a look, it's in a book - Reading Rainbow. / I can go anywhere! / Friends to know and ways to grow - Reading Rainbow. / I can be anything! / Take a look, it's in a book - Reading Rainbow."

Munchkinface and I share a deep love of books. Whenever we talk on the phone, she likes to tell me about the latest book she is reading and I tell her a just a wee bit about the Grownup Books I'm reading. She is really into fantasy and has exposed me to a lot of books I wish I had read when I was her age. I try to keep up with her reading list because she likes to ask me about certain plot points in books.

When we read The Chronicles of Narnia together in the winter of 2005, she asked me, "Why would Lucy go to Mr. Tumnus' house by herself when she just met him? And he's half-goat! Wasn't she scared?" After a lot of hemming and hawing, I replied, "Kids in books and movies sometimes do unsafe things they normally wouldn't do just for a taste of adventure." I should have added, "Not that you should do that, young lady! No tea in caves with fauns for you!"

This past summer, we read Nancy Drew: Murder on the Set together. I'm glad that it was for a school assignment and that she doesn't seem interested in reading any more Nancy Drew books. I found Nancy arrogant, passive-aggressive, and self-centered. Sistergirl was tied up in a basement about to be blown up by the evil baddie and she says: "I thought of my dad... of Ned... of Hannah, and Bess, and George... They were all going to miss me terribly." Swear to god I laughed out loud at that part. I never thought I would actually wish for the protagonist of a children's book to be blown to smithereens, and yet there I was, hoping against hope that Nancy Drew would go BOOM!

When it came time to debrief about the book, I asked the Munchkin how she liked Nancy's character. She said it was cool how Nancy quickly solved mysteries that stumped even Chief McGinnis. I asked her if she thought there was anything not nice about Nancy, but it seems the 10-year-old mind does not compute that Nancy Drew is a dark-hearted little bitchcake. I even asked leading questions like, "Didn't you think it was mean for Nancy to talk about how Bess, one of her best friends, is five pounds overweight?" Munchkinface didn't remember that part, but she was intrigued and wanted to go look it up. Damn! Bad Tita for bringing it up. So much for open discourse.

Thing is, Karincita and Jen were both big Nancy Drew fans when they were my niece's age and they didn't recall her being so stuck-up and snotty in the books they read. Maybe Munchkinface and I should read those Nancy Drew books together; this series and this character must have endured this long for a reason, right?

For now, I'm reading The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman to see if it is worthy of sharing with the Munchkinface. Perfect timing, too, since the movie will be out by Christmas and we can see it together. I'm enjoying the story so far; I have high hopes that this will be our winter 2007 book.

What was the best/most memorable book you read when you were in Grade 6 [10-12 years old]?

"Reading Rainbow" TV theme song
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