July 10, 2009

Reading, Reading, Reading

Last month I posted my response to Wait Till Helen Comes--the same response I posted to my professor. I won't keep torturing you with my extended thoughts on older children's literature. I'll just tell you what I've been reading (other than the piles of research studies for my own research) for the past couple of weeks and give you some thumbnail responses.

First up is Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising. This is a coming-of-age fantasy. Actually, it's more about the loss of innocence. This really got to me:
"This time, his fear was adult, made of experience and imagination and care for others, and it was the worst of all. In the moment that he knew this, he knew too that he, Will, was the only means by which his own fear could be overcome..." (p. 145).

Next was Jill Paton Walsh's The Green Book. It was ok. It certainly had some interesting elements and striking imagery, but felt unfinished and thin to me. Like the first chapter of a more interesting story. It's a nice introduction to science fiction, though. There's not much true SF for the younger set--more fantasy than anything else. The kids that read this and like it will grow up to read Frank Herbert, and Connie Willis, and Kim Stanley Robinson, and Dan Simmons and live happily ever after.

Then there was Shiloh. Spoiler: The doggie doesn't die at the end! So I was happy with that. A great sense of place in this one and the voice is pitch perfect. The graceful and compassionate ending is what must have won her the Newbery, though. Good work.