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Thursday, March 18, 2004

Read-Aloud Quandary Solved

Here's what we'll do...

After we finish Sophie's World, a quick trip through an abridged version of Gulliver's Travels. Yeah, so reading abridgments happens to be one of those things I swear I'll never do, and one of my peeves with The Well Trained Mind.

I think their recommendations for reading junior versions of the classics underestimates your children. Nothing wrong with reading an edition where the story is blatantly rewritten to get an overview of the story, for example, we LOVE Marcia Williams's Tales From Shakespeare: Seven Plays and Bravo, Mr. William Shakespeare! Nobody is going to even remotely mistake those for the originals. My problem is with the bowdlerized stories, the ones that don't make it clear that what you are reading is not the whole story.

In fact, this series, The Whole Story series, has a great premise offering all kinds of related information in the margins, to enhance the story. I looked at their version of Heidi which states on the back cover that it is "unabridged," side by side with another version, also purporting to be complete. The first had many fewer pages compared with the latter, probably one third fewer. It also had much larger type. And all those illustrations and sidebars...

Ah, but I digress.

Just to give them a working knowledge of Gulliver and Swift's commentary on the politics of the day, we'll quickly read the knock-off. And then, on to bigger and better things, The Scarlet Pimpernel. Robinson Crusoe, unedited of course, will be great on tape for our long ride up north. (Thanks, Beth, Donna, and Dy!) Thus I eliminate the guilt of skimping on my reading list for the year. Ta da.


The Giving Tree post yesterday, and the subsequent replies, on Sarah's blog cracked me up. I always felt bad for the tree, but, until Sarah pointed out the (now) obvious implications, never understood why exactly. It's easy to see she's being taken advantage of and that the boy is an ingrate. I never thought about it in the context of woman's or a mother's duty. How interesting.

Here's my entry for Darby's suggested list of children's stories with dubious messages:

Guess How Much I Love You

The constant competition and one-upmanship by Big Nutbrown Hare over Little Nutbrown Hare doesn't seem likely to foster a healthy parent/child relationship. Big Nutbrown Hare uses his size to an unfair advantage, and eventually uses his words to trounce poor Little Nutbrown Hare.

I see Little Nutbrown Hare in therapy one day.

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