So, I've been getting Derek books on tape to listen to in the car while he drives to and from work. He always has aspirations for reading more, but never has the time to accomplish the goal, so I thought this would be ideal. I also like being the one to pick the books on tape because I usually choose books I've read and then we can talk about the books later.
The first book I grabbed him was called Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi. I haven't read this book in several years, but I did remember that I liked it and the main character was a female dwarf. He enjoyed the book and thought it was well written.
The second book I grabbed him was a book I recently finished called A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (the author of The Kite Runner). It was a very sad book, but so powerfully written. He told me he enjoyed it as well, but that he definitely needed a cheerful novel next.
Well, I didn't get him a cheerful novel, but I did grab him a classic that I love...East of Eden by John Steinbeck. If you haven't read it, you should. I read it after my friend Tina and I absolutely loved the story.
So, I have been doing the same thing with Ryanna. You'll notice my "shelf" of books in the sidebar of my blog and you'll see that it lists The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. I thought that would be a book a bit above her reading level and would be good for her to listen to as we drove. Truthfully, I didn't know if she'd want to listen, but to my delight, she demands to listen to her books on tape every time we get in the car now.
So, after the first, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, I went to Ralph S. Mouse, also by Cleary. She seemed to enjoy both books and did pick up a bit of the story. I didn't know how well she'd follow because she's often busy looking at the scenery as we drive or daydreaming--something she does a lot. However, I figured even if she gets only tidbits of the story, hopefully, it's enjoyable and she's developing a love of literature.
Our latest book is Matilda by Roald Dahl. I was excited to get it because I didn't grow up reading Dahl. I read Cleary and Judy Blume mostly. My husband had been really excited to have her hear it. I have to say that I've been really shocked at the violence and the language. It's a children's book, but Ms. Trunchbulll (spelling is a guess since it's a book on tape), is quite a villian. It talks about the Chokey where she imprisons children for whole days or hours at a time...and the way she talks!!!!
She calls the children "stupid, little blisters, gobs of glue" (those are the phrases that are fresh in my mind from today's drive anyway). The way the parents treat Matilda and speak to her is appauling. I don't know, I am pretty disturbed by the whole thing really. It's making me worry that Ryanna's going to be afraid of school and start using some of the language that is repeatedly spewing forth from the Headmistress and the parents.
I'm still a little up in the air about how I feel about the whole thing. Not to say that the books I'm intrigued by don't have images that are violent or contain bad language in some spots, but I'm not choosing to read those books to my four year old.
Any of you who grew up reading Roald Dahl, what do you think????