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What is your opinion on "fluff" books? - Page 5

post #81 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3momkmb View Post
Ok, I'm officially going to go hide my head in the sand for ever daring to use the *R* word :
Ahhh, c'mon, I didn't really mean it that way.

I am sensitive to the words "require" and "you must" because my father was such a culture snob. He clearly felt that classics were by definition better than anything current, experimental, or non-mainstream. He was always dragging me, unwilling, to the opera, or a new exhibit at some museum. With my kids, I do offer some of the same activities, but always let them choose whether or not to participate. Just a difference in flavor, I guess.
post #82 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3momkmb View Post
Ok, I'm officially going to go hide my head in the sand for ever daring to use the *R* word :
Maybe not 'require', but there are some things my kids WILL do. (sound like require, doesn't it?) I don't consult them on every opportunity. Sometimes it is as simple as, "We are going to the raptor class as the lake." "We have tickets for James and the Giant Peach." "There is a concert we are going to." And then we go. There are some events we attend as a family, and I am will to bet that someday Shakespeare will be among them. If they hate the first one, we will try again in a few years. I don't think I can make them like anything, and that is not my goal, but I do want to foster appreciation. I don't like opera, but I go every once in a while in case I stumble on one I might like OR just to appreciate that which I do not understand.
post #83 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by maliceinwonderland View Post
I don't know if I should make this a whole new thread or not : Can anyone give me a list of non-fluff books to read to my seven year old?
Sure!
Burnett, F., A Little Princess and The Secret Garden
Carroll, L., Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
Grimm's fairy tales
Perrault's fairy tales
Taylor, S. All-of-a-Kind Family
Nesbit, E., Five Children and It
Lewis, C.S., The Chronicles of Narnia
Tolkein, J.R.R., The Hobbit
L'Engle, M., A Wrinkle in Time and A Swiftly Tilting Planet
Alcott, L. Little Women
Spyri, J. Heidi
Bible stories (regardless of religious views/lack thereof)
D'Aulaire's Greek Mythology
Aesop's Fables
Mythology or folktales from your particular ethnicity/culture
LeGuin, U., A Wizard of Earthsea
Lowry, L., The Giver
Orwell, G., Animal Farm
Snicket, L., A Series of Unfortunate Events
Dickens, C., Oliver Twist and Great Expectations

Shakespeare to see on video:

Twelfth Night
Much Ado About Nothing
A Midsummer Night's Dream
The Taming of the Shrew
Romeo and Juliet
(violence and sexuality cautions)

This is what I can think of off the top of my head. There may be more.
post #84 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
Sure!


This is what I can think of off the top of my head. There may be more.
Thank you! That will definitely get us started
post #85 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by maliceinwonderland View Post
I don't know if I should make this a whole new thread or not : Can anyone give me a list of non-fluff books to read to my seven year old?
Also go to this section of my Gateway links and browse through - you'll find a number of annotated links to websites that have good suggestions (such as Children’s Book Awards and Other Literary Prizes, and Carol Hurst’s Children’s Literature Site).
- Lillian
post #86 of 136
Just piping in to say... I'm in college right now, and I think without the occasional trashy novel between Candide and the Bhagavad Gita, I might go nuts.

I think trash is important sometimes
post #87 of 136
See, to me the Series of Unfortunate Events books are total fluff, so YMMV... formulaic, predictable, poorly written... so I was surprised to see them on your list.

I also think The Giver would be too emotionally intense for the vast majority of 7 year olds... infanticide is pretty tough stuff to read about, among other things. I would also worry about a 7 year old reading Grimm's fairy tales (I think Perrault was a little less gory, but I may be wrong). They also feature lots of violence and trauma - in the original Grimm's Cinderella, for example, the stepsisters cut off part of their feet in order to fit into the slipper, and are only caught when two pigeons notice a trail of blood... and then later the pigeons peck out the stepsisters' eyes as punishment.

dar
post #88 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
See, to me the Series of Unfortunate Events books are total fluff, so YMMV... formulaic, predictable, poorly written... so I was surprised to see them on your list.
I agree... I thought they were pretty well terrible, and was honestly shocked at the positive comparisons to Harry Potter that everyone offers up.
post #89 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
I also think The Giver would be too emotionally intense for the vast majority of 7 year olds
I thought the same thing. I think many of the Newbery award winners are about intense topics that might be better suited for around 11 YO and up.
post #90 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
See, to me the Series of Unfortunate Events books are total fluff, so YMMV... formulaic, predictable, poorly written... so I was surprised to see them on your list.
I agree that they are questionably fluffy. What put them into the "peri-fluff" zone for me was the narrative voice, which I love -- that arch, urbane, grim observer of the unfortunate events who seems in a lovely tradition of Fielding via Poe. I also genuinely appreciate the vocabulary of those books -- it is rare to find a book for young kids with the word "ersatz."
Quote:

I also think The Giver would be too emotionally intense for the vast majority of 7 year olds... infanticide is pretty tough stuff to read about, among other things.
I agree, but I figured that was the mom's call. It's a book which is, IMHO, radically thought-provoking, questioning (as it does) the notion of a "perfect" society and ultimately suggesting that the cost of eradicating those elements in society which are viewed as detrimental (war, pain, poverty) would be that society's capacity to feel its extreme joys. Not a cliché idea!
Quote:

I would also worry about a 7 year old reading Grimm's fairy tales (I think Perrault was a little less gory, but I may be wrong). They also feature lots of violence and trauma - in the original Grimm's Cinderella, for example, the stepsisters cut off part of their feet in order to fit into the slipper, and are only caught when two pigeons notice a trail of blood... and then later the pigeons peck out the stepsisters' eyes as punishment.

dar
For one thing, I think the fairy tales themselves are crucial for anyone's understanding of cultural literacy -- there are countless references to Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, et cetera. I detest the commercialized, sanitized, designed-for-focus-groups versions of these fairy tales as exuded by Disney.

For another, I'm with Bruno Bettelheim on the issue of the fairy tales' content: I think the tales as they have been told and retold are crucial to readers' psychological needs and to the inherent symbolism and theme of the story.

To take your example, I can think of no one story that captures the sad, pathetic degree to which some women will engage in what in effect are acts of self-mutilation in order to conform with an external ideal of beauty than "Cinderella," and for proof that we do this, we need look no further than here.

If you "cut off" (sorry...) what the stepsisters do to seize the gold ring of marriage, money, and beauty, the story is fundamentally altered. What is left is the image of Cinderella becoming beautiful and getting that same gold ring...with no sense that conforming to ideals of beauty might be in any way destructive. In short, when you leave out what the stepsisters do, you're left with Cinderella as a Disney Princess. No, the message in the fairy tales is far more gritty and realistic -- but ultimately much more healthy. Beauty, it says, has its price.
post #91 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg Murry. View Post
For another, I'm with Bruno Bettelheim on the issue of the fairy tales' content: I think the tales as they have been told and retold are crucial to readers' psychological needs and to the inherent symbolism and theme of the story.

To take your example, I can think of no one story that captures the sad, pathetic degree to which some women will engage in what in effect are acts of self-mutilation in order to conform with an external ideal of beauty than "Cinderella," and for proof that we do this, we need look no further than here.

If you "cut off" (sorry...) what the stepsisters do to seize the gold ring of marriage, money, and beauty, the story is fundamentally altered. What is left is the image of Cinderella becoming beautiful and getting that same gold ring...with no sense that conforming to ideals of beauty might be in any way destructive. In short, when you leave out what the stepsisters do, you're left with Cinderella as a Disney Princess. No, the message in the fairy tales is far more gritty and realistic -- but ultimately much more healthy. Beauty, it says, has its price.

I agree, but I am not ready to spring that on my littles yet. I think they are a great jumping off point for sociological, psychological and comparative literature studies. I had a whole class in college that include a book which gave feminist endings to many fairy tales. (The book was The Bloody Chamber for anyone who is interested.)
post #92 of 136
Right... Rain made her way through the original versions of dozens or maybe hundreds of fairy tales, at some point... but it wasn't at 7. I think she might have been 11? Somewhere around then. IMO, that's about when these stories are developmentally appropriate...

Clearly some of it will depend on the child, but there are so many wonderful stories out there for 7 year olds that I wouldn't be in a rush to introduce those that seem emotionally out of their range. Animal Farm was also on your list... I could have read that to Rain at 7, I suppose, and tried to explain the meaning behind it (or let her see it as a story about some farm animals, I guess... but as such, it's not really that great). When she read it at 12, though, after reading 1984, she had a sense of what the author was doing and was able to make a lot of those connections on her own, and then was motivated to do more research into the era and Marxism and Stalin and a whole lot of stuff... the story was a lot more meaningful to her.

Dar
post #93 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
See, to me the Series of Unfortunate Events books are total fluff, so YMMV... formulaic, predictable, poorly written... so I was surprised to see them on your list.

I also think The Giver would be too emotionally intense for the vast majority of 7 year olds... infanticide is pretty tough stuff to read about, among other things. I would also worry about a 7 year old reading Grimm's fairy tales (I think Perrault was a little less gory, but I may be wrong). They also feature lots of violence and trauma - in the original Grimm's Cinderella, for example, the stepsisters cut off part of their feet in order to fit into the slipper, and are only caught when two pigeons notice a trail of blood... and then later the pigeons peck out the stepsisters' eyes as punishment.

dar
I agree.

It's interesting how our ideas of what fluff and "literature" are to different people. My 11 y/o is not ready for the Giver. She has read some historical fiction, the Harry Potter series, but is quite sensitive, paticularly to children and animals. We do a lot of researching before we request books from the library. Our hs book club recently chose The Golden Compass for this month. Ellie started it and quickly stopped reading it. She asked what a few words were and said maybe it was too difficult or 'different'. We started reading it together and realized it was rather dark and violent. Now, we didn't get too far, but the uncle is menacing Lyra, he threatens to break her arm, then there is a bloody head. I realized why she dsidn't like it. It's just not her thing, where as her 6 y/o brother liked it. I was glad we took the time to read it together and not just encourage her to read something because "everyone else is."
post #94 of 136
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
I would also worry about a 7 year old reading Grimm's fairy tales (I think Perrault was a little less gory, but I may be wrong). They also feature lots of violence and trauma - in the original Grimm's Cinderella, for example, the stepsisters cut off part of their feet in order to fit into the slipper, and are only caught when two pigeons notice a trail of blood... and then later the pigeons peck out the stepsisters' eyes as punishment.

dar
That's the kind of stuff my kids eat with a spoon. My 7 yo has only read two chapter books so far- The Wizard of Oz and Dracula. It takes a certain love of bloodiness for her to choose to slog through an adult novel like that.
(But then, one of my kids' favorite Monty Python skits is Salad Days, so you can tell what bloodyminded children they are)
post #95 of 136
Old thread, I know, but I wanted to say:

What's the definition of 'fluff books' exactly? Is it anything that gets distributed mass-market paperback, or any cheesy romance? Seriously, I think, no matter what it looks like, a non-fluff book is anything that sticks in your mind or changes your worldveiw, even for just a few hours.

Example: My dd loves a series called Remnants. It has the name 'K.A. Applegate' on the cover. That woman did not write it. The books were written by several ghostwriters, each one with a slightly different view on the series, so there are plot holes (lots and lots and LOTS). The fourteen books were written in maybe two and a half years. It's kind of hard to follow. For some reason, dd overlooked all that. Remnants is her favourite series of all time, containing some of her favourite characters of all time. I read the books. My opinion? They're pretty bad. But even with the flaws, even though it's a bunch of cheap-a$$ paperbacks, I do NOT consider it fluff. My reason: Remnants has inspired my daughter so much. It got her interested in other postapocalyptic books, she sees the world as a little more fragile, and I think she might even drink more water now because she realizes how lucky she is to have enough. She's adapted the books into three full-length screenplays.

'Kay, I'll get off my soapbox. My point is just that fluff is kind of a matter of opinion. (I don't, however, believe that just because it gets kids to read, it's good. The 75-word picture book adaptation of The Wizard of Oz is definitely not literature, nor is it going to get many kids interested in reading the real Wizard of Oz. And if dd wants to get into 75-word picture book adaptations of classics, I'll let her, but we'll need to talk.)
post #96 of 136
Subbing to this fascinating thread ... and planning to come back and read the whole thing before I comment.
post #97 of 136
we read a little fluff around here. My older kids have developed a real distaste for it, though. We always talk about what they're reading and they get very annoyed when the characters have no depth or when their thinking nd logic are flawed and when the author leaves something unresolved. It isn't bad to real garbage, it's just bad when you never read good stuff either.
post #98 of 136
Short answer, admittedly without my having read the whole thread ( -- fluff is fine in small doses, or as a wind-down after an otherwise heavy and hectic schedule...but it would NOT be okay if it was the steady literary diet.
post #99 of 136
Fluff can be a good window to classic literature if you help them make the leap. Read the books also, talk to a librarian, google, and you can often find out the classic story it is based on. Almost all modern literature is either directly lifted or a twist of a classic story.

I do think that the classic literature is essential to understanding modern literature and movies and finding more depth to everyday life.

Even on the preschool level, you need to understand the classics to understand some of the modern retellings. I remember when ds was reading a variation of "three little pigs" at preschool. I searched high and low for a version of the original that had good pictures (he is a very visual kid) so that he could understand the variations better. Once he "got" what the original was, suddenly the variations were much more interesting to him.

Since then I have become much more conscious of making sure he has a steady diet of fairy tales and other kid classics along with the Mario Brother's choose your own adventure type books.

I also made the decision to buy the better books in hardback and the fluff and tv tie-in books (he had a serious Dora thing going on for a while) in paperback. I think it sends a message on what is more valued in our house, even if it is on a subtle level.
post #100 of 136
i've not read all of the responses yet (too many pages to weed through right now). i'm not opposed to fluff books at all, as i feel anything in balance is fine. if my dd enjoys books that aren't considered "good literature" all of the time - it's okay with me. even "junie b jones" involves a lot of imagination for my little girl as she envisions the story unfolding in her mind as i read it to her. plus, she is building an attention span & even if the story isn't considered literature, our time spent together as we read it is more important than the story imo anyway.
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