Monday, November 28, 2005

Harry Potter, Children's Books

Pottermania and
Random Book Notes

Harry is certainly not Frodo or Huck or Holden, but I always enjoy the books and movies. Actually the Third (The Prisoner of Azkaban) was my favorite until the latest. It is my favorite now.

We have been part of the crazed ones, I'm afraid. Sheila and I went out at midnight on the release date to buy the last book and delivered copies of it to Lil and her friends on the choir retreat.
We were in Vermont when the fifth book was released. We had a ball at the Potter Party at a bookstore in Manchester, where the staff, dressed as dementors, solemnly marched forth with boxes of books at midnight.

The books have remained fresh to me. I've been surprised that Rowling's managed to keep them interesting. Only one more to go... seven years at Hogwarts you know.

And our family saw the latest movie last weekend. It is the best of the four, in my mind. Lil saw it twice. She and Harry have grown up together.

I always enjoy seeing movies of books I have read, just to see how the director and cast interpret it. I loved the Lord of the Rings movies, even though I was sometimes disappointed at what was left out or changed.

I've tended to get kinda obsessive about authors all my life. When I find one I like I tend to read all their books -- even when they've amply illustrated their inconsistencies. I've read every Robb White book that I’ve been able to get my hands on, even though several have been disappointing, because the good ones (especially The Lion’s Paw) have been so much fun. Zachary Ball only wrote one really good kid's book as far as I can tell, (Bristle Face) but I have felt compelled to keep reading, hoping for another flash of brilliance. Sputters, the Bristle Face sequel, wasn’t bad. I've read lots of Agatha Christie books, and some of them are just atrocious. I have read most of Jan Karon’s too. Not exactly spellbinding but I’m all involved with the characters. When I was a kid I read all The Hardy Boys books in our library and then snuck a Nancy Drew or two. I went through a biography phase and read all the “boyhood” biographies. I read the Grisham books as they are published and the Jean Auels.
As an elementary teacher I latch onto certain children’s authors: Cornelia Funke, Beverly Cleary, Avi, Andrew Clements, Jerry Spinelli.

I am currently on a tear to finish all the Newbery Award winners. I’m into the older ones now. I just finished a wonderful old one: Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer. Even 70 years ago kids’ authors were tackling some big issues - an unhappy marriage, a murder, bullying, the death of a child, a child’s profane outburst, poverty - all handled with grace and style.

My sister, Carol, shares my love of good kids’ books. She has a blog dedicated to children’s literature and the teaching of reading, The Reading Teacher.

1 comment:

  1. I've had ROLLER SKATES in my classroom library for years, but I've never read it. I will find it tomorrow and bring it home and make it my next reading project. I just finished a Newberry book about the Mayans - THE CORN GROWS...(can't remember the last part of the title), but it was good - not sure it would be something that would really grab the interest of a child, though. I may re-read it.
    I'm enjoying your blog. Thanks for the plug!