Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cure for a Book Hangover, Kid Edition

A few weeks ago, William read the last page of the final book in Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series. He contemplated the back cover of the book and sighed a deep, shuddery, eight-year-old-in-an-existential-crisis sigh. It was finished.

It's a phenomenon well known to intense readers. He had become deeply immersed in the series of fantasy books, recommended by my friend Erica, whose own son had enjoyed them, and finishing them gave him that sense of melancholy that hangs over us when we grudgingly finish reading a terrific book. Someone referred to it as "a book hangover," which I think is very apt.

But what to read next?

William finished the Harry Potter series over the summer and then tackled the first few books in Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Little House on the Prairie series. He also read Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series and Heroes of Olympus series. He loved all of those. But he keeps putting the first Fablehaven book on my nightstand and imploring me to read it so he'll have someone to discuss it with. So that should tell you how much he enjoyed Fablehaven--he wants to hold a book club meeting with his mom.

I wanted to find him something awesome to read. Something that would lessen the book hangover. But I wasn't sure what to recommend at that point. He mentioned wanting to start reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Ring series, but David and I both remembered struggling with those books when we were young. (Heck, I struggled with them when I read them as an adult. And I'd already read books like The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass and The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner.) So we suggested that perhaps he might want to wait on those for another couple of years. But in the meantime, what could he turn to?

I turned to my second favorite source of info after Dr. Google: The Facebook. "Help!" I wrote in a desperate post to my Facebook friends and their friends and the friends of their friends. "I neeeeeeeeed book recommendations for William."

And oh boy, did they deliver!

What the Facebook peeps (and their kids) suggested:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
  • Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Books by Andrew Peterson (example: On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society series of books by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • Redwall series by Brian Jacques and Gary Chalk
  • Children of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo
  • 39 Clues series by Rick Riordan
  • The Sisters Grimm series by by Michael Buckley and Peter Ferguson
  • The Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer
  • Half-Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer
  • The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series by Maryrose Wood and Jon Klassen
  • Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters
  • The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
  • The Unwanteds series by Lisa McMann
  • Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland
  • Keys to the Kingdom books by Garth Nix
  • Gregor The Overlander and the other Underland Chronicles books by Suzanne Collins
  • Peter and the Monsters books by Darren Pillsbury
  • Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage and Mark Zug
  • Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander
  • The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man's Canyon by S. S. Taylor and Katherine Roy
  • The Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy
  • The Apothecary by Maile Meloy
  • The Pendragon books by  D.J. MacHale
  • The Three Investigators books by Robert Arthur
  • Books by Nancy Farmer (example: Sea of Trolls Trilogy)
  • Books by Madeleine L'Engle (example: A Wrinkle in Time)
  • Warriors series by Erin Hunter
  • Anne of Green Gables books by L.M. Montgomery
  • The Inheritance Cycle books by Christopher Paolini

As a book nerd, this list makes my heart sing. A long list of books to try! Even if William doesn't respond to some of them, others will surely appeal to him. If your child is looking for new reading material, you might also find some good candidates from this list.

Got any other recommendations? I'd love to add more books to this list. so please let me know.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

A dark and windy Halloween

It was a dark and stormy night.

No. Make that, it was a dark and blustery night.

Oh, and it was cold too. Teeth-rattlingly cold. And blustery. Did I mention the blustery part?

But the Scary Chef and the Ninja would not be deterred. Neither wind nor cold nor dark of night would keep from making their self-appointed trick-of-treating rounds.

Not only that, but William and Andrew and Sammy trick-or-treated for more than an hour and a half during this rather extreme weather situation. Along with hundreds of other kids, of course, their parents, Chewbacca and a host of Darth Vaders, Princess Leias, and Elsas from "Frozen." Bruce and I accompanied them, and we were pretty amazed by how fast our kids could run when motivated by candy. I'm wondering if perhaps we should enter them in the Boston Marathon since they are so good at sprinting in full costume. 

I praised Andrew for saying "trick or treat" AND "thank you" when he went up to the front doors. I added, "And you were very cute, too." Andrew immediately responded, "You mean scary." And I nodded solemnly, "Yes of course." 

Not cute.
Scary. Very very scary.

Andrew, Joseph, William and Sammy.

The Scary Chef and the Ninja.
The grandmothers were not put off by the Scary Chef.
David removed his Darth Vader helmet so he wouldn't compete
with the fierce scariness that was the hallmark of the one and only Scary Chef.
Even ninjas love their mamas.
All in all, we had a lovely Halloween again this year. Even if we lost a few things along the trick-or-treat route, everyone seemed to have fun, and no one got frostbite. I didn't get a good picture of me wearing my giant black-and-purple tutu, which was the focal part of my 40-year-old princess get-up, but that's okay. I was able to drown my sorrow in Twix bars, and really, can you ask for more than that?