Monday, June 22, 2009

Finished Ballet Shoes, what next?

I am happy to report that Ballet Shoes has been an all round success in the read-aloud stakes from beginning to end. The Noodle was very keen to find out if Gum came back and confident that he would. The wrap up was most satisfying for a young person who is anxious about loose ends.

I think he secretly thought that Posy was the best character, because she was just so confident about herself. It makes me realise how rare confident characters are in literature for children. And when they are confident they are frequently obnoxious. The narrator carefully points out that Posy is not obnoxious, because she is so committed to her dancing - she's just being realistic when she notices that she is a better dancer than the other girls at the Academy. I like that.

Of course, the Noodle spent the entire chapter of Pauline's pride with his head under the pillow, weeping with anxiety. I thought he might expire on the spot when Pauline shouted at the theatre manager. He is a most satisfactory audience.

We are still stuck in the eagles' eyrie in The Hobbit. The Noodle is too afraid to continue. He enjoys the story so much, but he is so afraid for Bilbo all the time that he can't relax. If only we got to the end, and he could see how Bilbo's resourcefulness and tenacity get him through I'm sure the Noodle would feel happier than leaving Bilbo hanging (almost literally from Dori's legs).

Anyone have any suggestions for a good read-aloud that is not filled with incident and horrors?


aztec-rose said...

I must try the Ballet shoes with my little ballerina. One of my favourites is James and the Giant Peach or one I read once as a primary teacher called 'David and the Phoenix' - a wonderful read!

Penni said...

I love your blog. It makes me happy.

What about My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell? Nina Bawden's The Peppermint Pig. Robin Klein's All in the Blue Unclouded Weather.

Anonymous said...

The Muddle-Headed Wombat, but it might be too young for the Noodle. My mum read it to my sisters and me when I was about 12. I will never forget it—maybe because she wasn't reading to us as much by that age so it's a fond memory of her company more than the actual story.
Girl O'Sea

Penthe said...

Good suggestions all. I loved David and the Phoenix, I wonder what happened to my copy. And the Muddle-Headed Wombat would be great, I think. No book is too young, if it is fun! Ms Sea, you have also given me a new motto for life, so ta. I never read Gerald Durrell, but it might be time to try.

I was wondering about Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, but I seem to remember slightly risque humour that might be somehow reduced by lengthy, tasteful explanations.

Shayne Parkinson said...

What an interesting observation regarding the confident characters! I'd never thought about it, but you are (of course) quite right. The most confident characters are often bullies, some of whom get reformed in the end and admit to having lacked confidence under that bold exterior.

Hmm, the only books that are coming to mind are probably much too young for the Noodle, like "The Wind in the Willows", "Winnie the Pooh", or "Milly-Molly-Mandy". Books for even slightly older kids do tend to be packed with terrifying incidents.

Suse said...

I loved the Enid Blyton series on 'The Children of Cherry Tree Farm' (and later their family buy their own farm and you get 'The Children of Willow Farm' and 'More Adventures on Willow Farm' etc).

Lovely and gentle, informative and everything else you expect from Ms Blyton.

Anything by Roald Dahl is good too.

SANDY said...

I recently read aloud 100% Wolf and 100% Hero by Jane Lyons to #2 son (who is 9). We are both easily frightened but fascinated by mythical creatures such as werewolves - so this series is perfect. No gory or scary bits. Well-written and well-paced. It's lots of fantasy, fun, action and humour. It's about a boy who during his Transwolfation (I love that word) sometimes turns into a pink poodle instead of a heroic looking wolf. Always at the most embarrassing moments. Worth a try! :) Sandy PS Thank you for your beautiful words about Samurai Kids. It's a wonderful thing for an author to see their words at work in a such a positive way. We write hoping it will happen and we cry when it does!

Penthe said...
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