As far as Dickens goes, I really think it's a matter of personal taste. I used to hate Dickens until I heard a really talented reader read him aloud on tape, which is where I think his strengths are. It's *meant* to be read aloud. However, it's not for everyone and doesn't suit everyone's tastes. I agree that the plots are soapy, though!
As far as it being a century old, it's actually older...but that, to my mind, is not a problem. At least as far as our household goes, we *want* our daughter to be very well-versed on those blow-the-dust-off-the-cover classics of European literature. To the person who objected to the short versions, I understand -- but the shorter versions *are* designed for younger readers and are age-appropriate. My grand master plan...and we'll see if it works or not (what do I know? ) is that by the time she gets IN to college (if she wants to go), Odysseus, Hamlet, Catherine and Heathcliff, Ahab, Pip, and all those other folks will be as familiar to her as Simba, Belle, Jasmine, and Mulan are to other kids, and she *won't be* one of those university students who's looking for the Reader's Digest versions of those stories. KWIM? Anyway, we'll see if it works.
By the way, just to counteract what might be your impressions, we really don't sit around all day reading dusty books. Sometimes we just run around chasing each other or dressing up as princesses.
BUT, despite my degree in Germanic Language and Literature, I don't just read high German literature like Thomas Mann or Goethe, I also read trash. I LOVE some of the completely trashy detective novels, like the Da Vinci Code, or the Unburied. I LOVE virtually anything by John Irving. Anything by Timothy Parks. Paul Theroux. Bruce Chatwin. As a matter of fact, I would much RATHER read the Da Vinci Code than anything by Goethe.
I kind of equate books like Junie B Jones to those trashy romance books that line the shelves at Walmart. Well, at least their reading. And I think that is different than at least their eating.
I do not encourage my kids to read abridged versions of books. I think those are silly; kind of like the publishing companies putting out an "American" version of the Harry Potter books. No thanks. Read the original, if possible, or read something else.
Kids don't need to be reading great literature at every reading session. Which is why we have Captain Underpants books at our house!
If your child like Junie B Jones, great. If your child like ONLY Junie B Jones, weeeell, there might be a problem. Variety is the spice of life, right!
however, I don't personally like the Junie B Jones books, and I am glad dd#1 is too old for them. Dd #2 hasn't discovered them yet; I still prefer Ramona, but that is probably just because I loved her so much when *I* was growing up!
ijust wanted to mention, I think the reason my dd likes Junie B is that she does all the things Madeline wishes she could get away with and knows she better not even try :LOL omeitmes it is nice to fantacize that we are the center of the universe (as JBJ seems to think she is) and that we could actually act on our impulses. Anyway, i am sure it is just a fad and it is much better than some of the things my friends kids were jumping on at this age (pokeman comes to mind uke)
And you can add me to the list of people who hats Dickens. I htink his wriitng is awful and have never understood why people think it is so high and mighty.
The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it. We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.
I bought a JBJ at a garage sale this past summer, read some of it privately, and decided not to let dd read it. Pretty much for the same reasons CB is listing. For me, I feel dd is such an impressionable child, and she tends to act/talk like her lastest character she has been reading/watching. KWIM?
When she is old enough to have her morality/value system in place, I will allow her to read(pretty much) what she wants. But, for now, I feel the need to protect her from trashy literature,tv,videos,clothing,media,junk food,etc....
FTR.....we just finished A little Princess. I read way ahead of her and finished it at some odd hour in the middle of the night,I loved it that much. It is above her reading level, so sometimes I would read to her or we would take turns by reading two pages each at a time. We had many,many discussions about it, and she is still talking about it. If you go to Target now, they have it there for $6-$7, and it comes with a locket. AAnndd we also bought The Wizard of Oz-which comes with a necklace that has the sparkly red shoes on it.
I want to add that I don't meant to sound judgemental, as if those of you who are in favor of JBJ books,are reading trash to your kids....I've just not been in a gentle way of communicating lately...I hope I didn't offend anyone.....
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