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#61 of 136 Old 01-25-2007, 08:24 PM
 
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ds has developed a huge interest in garfield comics. in fact, he is in the process of teaching himself to read with this fluff. seriously, this has worked like nothing else. he know i don't really like to read them outloud, so he has to read them himself. likewise, i really got into a serious reading groove by reading thingslike the saucy and scandelous v.c. andrews in eighth grade.
i quickly progressed to much more serious things, but i still enjoy a bit of twaddle now and again although my love of ms. andrews has thankfully waned over the years.
nak so no caps!

My oldest dd pretty much taught herself to read with a Calvin and Hobbes obsession.
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#62 of 136 Old 01-25-2007, 08:35 PM
 
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Kids reading fluff doesn't bother me, but for some reason it bugs me when adults, librarians and teachers particularly, say it's serving the "cause" of getting kids to read "no matter what." I can't fully put my finger on why this bothers me, but I find it pretty irritating.
I've just been reading through the thread fast in order to get out the door for an errand, but I had to stop and comment on this one - because I know exactly what you mean, and it's something I've thought about too. I do think it's great that they read anything they want - and that they learn to love to read for all the wonderful things they'll find in books throughout life - but I think entirely too much automatic obsession is sometimes put on the value of reading just for the sake of reading. I realize the idea is that enjoying reading is the portal to a whole world and all that and all that - and I think those people you mentioned are not wrong, but there's just something to the tone sometimes that makes me uncomfortable.

That said, I must add that I know of plenty of little boys (mine included) who have taught themselves to read from their drive to be able to decipher Calvin and/or a Nintendo Power magazine, because their moms just couldn't bring themselves to spend all that much time reading them to them, and I think that's great.

In fact, mine plowed through the 2001 Space Odyssey series at age 12 and started reading novels on his own after that because I had already read a couple of the Space Odyssey books and had no enthusiasm about reading them again and aloud. I'm not suggesting in any way - no, no, no - that anyone should hold back on reading something to children in order to inspire them to read it themselves, but I think we all do have our human limits in how we can bring ourselves to spend our time. I just don't think we should hand off judgements in the process. If they're exposed to lots and lots of good literature, they'll "get it." In fact, my son has less tolerance for mediocre writing than I do - I'm willing to stay with a book for the way an author can keep up great suspense, even if I'm thinking "Gee, but just I wish he were better at the writing craft itself...", whereas my son just can't go there.

But I think you need to do more than only turning them loose at the library when they're little - I think you need to also ask around, do some research, look in bookstores as well, and bring home lots of good stuff to read to them and/or pile around (yes, Dar, "strewing")...

Off and running... - Lillian
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#63 of 136 Old 01-25-2007, 08:56 PM
 
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I strew but I also turn them loose. Anything they bring me, we take out (from the kid's section, of course).
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#64 of 136 Old 01-25-2007, 09:05 PM
 
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I strew but I also turn them loose. Anything they bring me, we take out (from the kid's section, of course).
And I just edited my own post to make it more clear that I think that's great too. Lillian
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#65 of 136 Old 01-25-2007, 11:00 PM
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Yup. That's why I am not going to require DD to read Shakespeare but I will be requiring her to go and see Shakespeare. Personally I can't stand reading a whole play as a play. I read both Macbeth and Hamlet in high school but n ever really understood either until I saw Macbeth and read a version of Hamlet that was written in story form (Shakespeare for young readers). I figure we can always look up pertinent parts in the written plays after we see them.

I have some suggestions! Twelfth Night
A delightful gender-bending comedy! Orsino is in love with Olivia who's in love with Cesario...who's in love with Orsino because "Cesario" is actually a woman. Confused? You won't be if you see this very funny film.

A Midsummer Night's Dream
Another wonderful comedy -- What happens when the Queen of the Fairies falls victim to a mischievous spell that makes her fall in love with...a man with an ass head?


Titus Andronicus
Shakespeare in his Quentin Tarantino phase. Very violent, but strangely compelling in a Reservoir Dogs kind of way.

Hope this helps for starters.
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#66 of 136 Old 01-25-2007, 11:49 PM
 
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But I'm wondering why the idea would be presented in the form of a requirement. I think that simply sharing enthusiasm about the fun and passion that can be found in Shakespeare would be enough to inspire a child to be fine about going along to see a play...and I recall being fascinated by MacBeth when I was pretty little even though I didn't know (or even partiuclarly care) what was going on... Witches in the mist - "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble..." - ooh, how good can it get? My son has always loved plays and books, but there was never the thought of any of it being required. I always found that the less things seemed medicinal, the more enthusiasm there was about them. Lillian
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#67 of 136 Old 01-26-2007, 01:57 AM
 
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I wish DD liked "fluff", in fact any fiction at all. She reads only history and biographies. She asked for history books for xmas. But she is no nerd - she can watch MTV for hours, or any tv for that matter. I wish I could give her the gift of reading trash. She didn't want to be read to as a little kid, and in fact I think she moved out of the family bed at 6 to avoid listening when I read to YoungSon.

DS has dyslexia, and is just starting to read at 10. I read to him a couple hours a night, and generally he chooses pretty well. I drew the line at Goosebumps - I just couldn't do that. I have read all of Harry Potter 3 or 4 times, Series of Unfortunate Events nearly twice, some Jack London and Steinbeck, and quite a bit of Dickens. Also more than my fair share of Captain Underpants. He will have to learn to read himself if he wants Goosebumps.

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#68 of 136 Old 01-26-2007, 02:42 AM
 
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I wish DD liked "fluff", in fact any fiction at all. She reads only history and biographies. She asked for history books for xmas. But she is no nerd - she can watch MTV for hours, or any tv for that matter. I wish I could give her the gift of reading trash.
I was a lot like that as a child - sort of inherited that propensity from my dad - but hey, I recently read The Devil Wears Prada, f'r Pete's sake...and thoroughly enjoyed that it was worthless entertainment. There's hope. Aw, but seriously, it's kinda' cute. Who knows where things will go from here - she's so young... - Lillian
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#69 of 136 Old 01-26-2007, 03:21 AM
 
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My definition of "fluff" would be stuff like Goosebumps. "Series" drivel. I will not read them out loud, but my dd can check them out of the library if she wants to. I may explain what I think about them, I do find books that I think look good and bring them home too, but I don't exactly censor.

Except for Junie B. Someone gave us a set of 4, and once dd had read them I hid them.
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#70 of 136 Old 01-26-2007, 11:16 AM
 
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But I'm wondering why the idea would be presented in the form of a requirement. I think that simply sharing enthusiasm about the fun and passion that can be found in Shakespeare would be enough to inspire a child to be fine about going along to see a play...and I recall being fascinated by MacBeth when I was pretty little even though I didn't know (or even partiuclarly care) what was going on... Witches in the mist - "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble..." - ooh, how good can it get? My son has always loved plays and books, but there was never the thought of any of it being required. I always found that the less things seemed medicinal, the more enthusiasm there was about them. Lillian
Yeah, I should have picked a better word

DD is not excited to see Shakespeare. She wasn't overly impressed with what she read and wouldn't choose to see a play if I wasn't prepared to push it a little. Her exact response to my suggestion that seeing it would be better then reading it was *DO I have too?*

So, yeah, I guess I want her to see a play before she makes up her mind that she doesn't like him and I'll probably have to *require* her to go.
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#71 of 136 Old 01-26-2007, 02:56 PM
 
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She wasn't overly impressed with what she read and wouldn't choose to see a play if I wasn't prepared to push it a little.
Ah! I get it. Too bad it started out that way - sounds kind of like trying to convince someone that chocolate is a good thing if all they've tasted is an old chalky Hershey's Kiss that had spent a few months under the couch seats. -Lillian

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#72 of 136 Old 01-26-2007, 05:10 PM
 
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The vast majority of the books we read are quality so I figure a bit of brain candy in the diet won't cause any lasting ill effects right?

Steph

Steph, I agree with you. I also follow Charlotte Mason's style. When we first started I really censored what my ds read. I didn't want any "twaddle". Very quickly, I saw his love of reading start to die. I was smart enough to back off and give him some freedom. It was the best thing I could have done. He loves to read again. That said, I do still reserve the right to say no, and I occasionally do.

After all, I love to read but I wouldn't want to be limited to only the classics (though I do enjoy them given the right mood). Sometimes I just want to read for fun and not have to think too deeply about what I'm reading.
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#73 of 136 Old 01-26-2007, 08:27 PM
 
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My ds learned to read with Garfield comic books. He reads Magic Treehouse now too. Gotta have a little brain candy mixed in with the veggies!

~Rose~ 

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#74 of 136 Old 01-26-2007, 11:00 PM
 
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I think this is such a complicated topic.

First, there are many books that I won't purchase because I think that what we house, we often become. For example, no Disney books because I think they are sexist, racist and classist. I will purchase great books for my kids any day of the week. When there is so much great literature out there, I certainly will not spend my jack on twaddle.

Second, while I want these books nowhere near my house, I recognize their educational value. To get one or two at the library is no big deal because they are a great jumping off point for grander discussions. Little Mermaid: She is only 16 and left her family to chase a man she never met; Our babysitter is 16--what do you think of that? He loves her even though the only thing he knows about her is that she is pretty and can sing well. Is that enough to marry someone? What else might he want to find out? And on and on.

Third, there are some books that I simply say, "I have read that X number of times, you know mommy thinks that book is boring. I will read it again in a few days. What can you find to interest both of us?" There is a book called Finders Keepers about two dogs and a bone that I hate. I think it is the only one that I limit. Now, of course, he taunts me, "I have Finders Keepers." So I have to reply, "You found it...you keep it!"

Fourth, I really do regret my early reading choices. I have so little time to read for pleasure now, I feel that I pist away a lot of free time with crap books. When I did read good lit, it was for book reports, so I tried to blow through them quickly and did not take all of it in. Like I said before, there is so much out there that is amazing, I just cannot see reading fluff for myself again. Maybe in my 80s when things slow down....
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#75 of 136 Old 01-27-2007, 12:27 AM
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Meg Murry was a "brain candy" reader and now she's an English teacher - so it can't be all bad, right?
Well, but it was when I was in college that I realized I really didn't have a great deal of the background that I needed in order to be successful, and I had to play a game of catch-up, which is what basically gave me my current distrust of / antipathy toward brain candy. Looking back, I genuinely believe that I wasted a great deal of time reading garbage that gave me very little in terms of appreciation of literature or knowledge of the wider world or really much of anything. Speaking for myself, at least, I also believe it was inappropriate for me to have been reading Once is Not Enough in junior high.

I realize I don't speak for everyone, by any means, but at least for my dd, I'm of the same mind as one of the PPs -- I won't spend money on books that are garbagey and I'll do my best to "strew" with more worthwhile choices.

And I hate reading most fiction now.
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#76 of 136 Old 01-27-2007, 12:52 AM
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I hate reading fiction now, too... I read Andrew Vachss, Barbara Kingsolver, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez... oh, and J.K. Rowling. I'm not sad about it, though. I had a lovely time reading tons of fiction when I was younger, and now I like non-fiction.

I think schooled kids often choose fluff exclusively because they don't have the available leisure time to just read what they want. I consider fluff to be non-demanding reading - stuff you can swallow in one big gulp without needing to digest it much. I can read Harry Potter books or do a crossword puzzle or sudoku or knit or watch Law and Order... they're all ways to realx and not think a lot. In my experience, though, at least with unschooled kids, they do choose more mentally taxing activities sometimes, too.

So, Rain reads Valley of the Dolls and It and My Sweet Audrina, and she rereads Noel Streatfeild books a lot when she needs a break (they are so charming), but she also reads Nabokov and Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird. She knows what's out there... I think it would be sad if a kid didn't know there was more than Goosebumps and Sweet Valley Twins and Junie B... but I don't think it's sad for a child to choose those sometimes.

Oh, and Rain learned how to read with the Archies comics, in large part... but Calvin and Hobbes was her next big thing.

I also agree about Shakespeare - plays are meant to be performed, not silently read. I can't go through a script without whispering lines aloud, and "hearing" them... and I think kids without the experience of going to the theatre will have a difficult time understanding how the words translate to a play.

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#77 of 136 Old 01-27-2007, 12:59 AM
 
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Ahhh, I dunno. I seem to have come full circle in my, ahem, old age. I read Dostoyevsky (sp?) for pleasure at 12 (yes, I was sort of unschooled). I read all, yes, I mean all, of Steinbeck, Dickens, Shakespere, and I don't remember who all else right now in the next couple years. I would pick an author, and read everything they wrote. Somewhat obsessively.

I have nearly never watched TV, and for many years I was quite a snob about it. But I have come to believe that none of this (books, good or bad, TV or whatever other medium) has any intrinsic value at all, nor intrinsic harm. It is all in what an individual takes away from it. Nerd that I still am, I would never "require" my kids to see Shakespere's plays, opera, ballet, art museums, or anything else. The Dumplings and I have spent more hours in museums than most families, but that is because we love them. And probably as many or more hours reading books, both "good" and fluff. But I really think they have learned as much from TV as the more high-brow resources.

I still don't watch TV. I read mainly science and ethics/philosophy these days. If I had more time, I would read mysteries, but they don't rate too high on my priority list right now.

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#78 of 136 Old 01-27-2007, 08:57 AM
 
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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?
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#79 of 136 Old 01-27-2007, 11:21 AM
 
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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?
I think you will find the definition of fluff will vary greatly.
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#80 of 136 Old 01-27-2007, 12:25 PM
 
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Nerd that I still am, I would never "require" my kids to see Shakespere's plays, opera, ballet, art museums, or anything else.

Ok, I'm officially going to go hide my head in the sand for ever daring to use the *R* word :
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#81 of 136 Old 01-27-2007, 12:38 PM
 
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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.

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#82 of 136 Old 01-27-2007, 01:20 PM
 
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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.
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#83 of 136 Old 01-27-2007, 03:24 PM
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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.
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#84 of 136 Old 01-27-2007, 11:17 PM
 
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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
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#85 of 136 Old 01-27-2007, 11:35 PM
 
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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
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#86 of 136 Old 01-27-2007, 11:46 PM
 
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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

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#87 of 136 Old 01-27-2007, 11:55 PM
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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.

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#88 of 136 Old 01-27-2007, 11:58 PM
 
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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.

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#89 of 136 Old 01-28-2007, 11:05 AM
 
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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.
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#90 of 136 Old 01-28-2007, 12:44 PM
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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."
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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!
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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.
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