Monday, June 29, 2009

One Man's Monster is Another Man's Teddy Bear


Ah, June. Given the make-up snow days and make-up teacher-strike days, my children only officially got out of school last Thursday, but we lost no time in signing up for the library's Summer Reading Challenge. For my two younger ones, entering this contest isn't motivated by love of the written word so much as a desire to get a pizza coupon, art kit, and possibly possibly a laptop!

My oldest dearly loves to read, however, and while she now (at almost ten) pooh-poohs princess stories and JUDY MOODY, she's recently gotten into ghost stories and accepted my recommendation for Patricia Clapp's JANE-EMILY, a book that terrorized all the girls in my fifth grade class, including me.

Have we grown more jaded now?

One page in: "When is this going to get scary?"

Four chapters in: "This is the most unscary book I've ever read."

Really truly? THE most unscary? More unscary than THESE HAPPY GOLDEN YEARS or A BIRTHDAY FOR FRANCES? To make sure, I picked JANE-EMILY up again on one of the frequent occasions when my daughter had laid it down and found it as interesting as ever. Maybe not scary anymore, no, but I am, after all, 39 now.

If it's any comfort to me, this is the same daughter who couldn't bear to listen to LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS for years because of all the animal stories, especially the one about Pa and the panther. Grandpa on the sled with the pig couldn't begin to make up for the terrors of Pa and the panther.

All of which is to say, if you or your kids have any favorite spooky books, I'd love to hear suggestions. I can't have my daughter thinking I'm such a giant wuss.

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