What We're Reading Now, Charlie and I

By now, Charlie and I have read too many books together to keep track of, and now that he's 11, our reading time together probably won't last too much longer, but as long as he still enjoys our night-time ritual I'm happy to keep it going.  Chance the dog has been reading with us since he was half his size.  When it's time (and he always seems to know when it's story time), he runs down the hall and jumps onto Charlie's bed, trying to take up every inch of the beach towel I have spread out for him.  He seems to enjoy the calm of the spoken word; I'm not sure if he really "gets" the stories though.

Charlie's last haul from the library included: Lake Monster Mysteries; the Essential Iron Man, Vol. I; an encylopedia of movie monsters; the Gross Universe; Chinese Myths; Egyptian Gods and Mythology; and Wizardology. These books he reads on his own (although we do read some of the gross tidbits together from time to time).  I found and bought three used books for us to read together:  Stuart Little; Ribsy; and Johnny Tremain.  These books were all blasts from my past.

First we read Ribsy, another great Beverly Cleary story told from the perspective of Henry Huggins' dog Ribsy who becomes separated from his boy and family.  The story follows Ribsy on his odyssey home.  Charlie laughed a lot as we read Ribsy.

Next we read Stuart Little.  This E.B. White classic has an urbane New York sensibility.  I love the fact that the Littles are surprised when Mrs. Little gives birth to a mouse but not enough to alert the media.  Mrs. Little simply goes about sewing tiny clothes, and Mr. Little makes a bed for Stuart using clothespins as bedposts and a cigarette box for the mattress. This story is really more vignettes strung together, each painting its own picture.  In one chapter, Stuart is captain of a schooner in a boat race, in another, Stuart finds himself teaching a group of school children (my favorite chapter).  Stuart is sophisticated, a natty dresser, and has quite an attitude.  This book is much better than the movie.

Right now, we're reading Johnny Tremain, the Newbery award-winning historical novel by Esther Forbes.  Set in pre-Revolutionary War Boston, the story follows Johnny, a gifted young apprentice to a silversmith, who suffers a terrible accident, must make his own way in the world, and becomes caught up in the fight for liberty.   Charlie's really getting into the story now.  At first, he was a little taken aback by the descriptions and use of language, but Esther Forbes was setting the tone, giving the feel for the time period. (It took him a bit of willpower to stop snickering every time I'd read the name "Dorcas.")

They say you can never go home again, and that's mostly true, except for books.  We change, but the books we read as children are still the same. Revisiting my old friends has definitely been one of the perks of parenthood.  Charlie wants to return to the LOTR trilogy (after our Herculean task of reading Fellowship of the Ring last summer).  I'm going to need to prep myself for that one.  Maybe next summer.  However long it takes though, it will still be there waiting for us.


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