Friday, January 22, 2010

Rage - Goddess, sing the rage

of Peleus' son Achilles,
murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls...

In which I remember not every book has to be a classic to be good.

Tink is a great reader. She can read anything she can get her hands on. And what does she pick?

Rainbow Magic Fairies.

It kills me. As I told a friend, every time she turns a page, a piece of my soul dies. But she's happy, and she's reading, and so, well, okay. I shut up.

And then yesterday she asked to go to the library. We returned the FIVE fairy books she got on Monday (because she had finished them by Monday night) and she got five more. I bit my tongue and tried to direct her towards some books whose strongest assets are not their glittery covers. Then she asked, "Where's nonfiction?"

I showed her the shelves (and gave her a mini-lesson in the Dewey Decimal System). She marched over to the books on Ancient Greece and began huffing, "Where is the ILIAD?"*

Bemused and marveling again at the power of a really good yarn to last for generations, I looked it up and we headed to section 883.

"These are all picture books," Tink complained. "I want the real Iliad."

"These are the real Iliad," I said. "It was written in Greek and people translate it. These are the real stories."

"The Iliad does not have pictures," she pointed out.

So we went upstairs to the adult poetry section and she took out this:

I decided that if I let her read Rainbow Fairy books without comment, I shouldn't say anything if she wants to try The Iliad.

"I'm going to read this," she announced.

"I believe it," I said.

"But sometimes I'm going to read these, like to relax," she said, holding up Evie the Mist Fairy.

Which is how it should be, I think.

We curled up on some cushions, Tink with her 683-page translation of The Iliad and me with The Friendship Ring: If You Only Knew, by Rachel Vail. Which is good too.

* They've been reading Trojan War stories in her reading group.


J. Thorp said...

not quite the iliad, but emma's alternating between the little house books and rainbow magic. bren is reading Nothing Like It in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, 1863-1869 by stephen ambrose, and relaxing with a middle-school translation of beowulf (still plenty bloody, but an easy read for him). gabe alternates between age-approp fantasy series(es) and garfield comic collections. and trevor? he's distracted by the strength training aspects of the wii fit game. a kindergartener attempting pushup-to-side-planks ... it's amazing what holds a kid's attention. i love the diversity of interests ...

Lisa Green said...

I think it speaks to what a great mother you are that your daughter would be confident enough to take out the Iliad and devour a series of her own choosing like that.

I think it's just showing your daughter prefers the genre of fantasy, which is great!

It actually reminds me of me when I was a kid. I took out Gullivers Travels in first grade (though I think it was more to prove to the librarian that I could read it) and I read my Beverly Cleary, etc.

cath c said...

another battle won for literacy.

like that iliad reference - battle, huh. huh? i just hope tink can get past the description of the shield. i think that was the toughest part for me - in college.

we're in a bit of reversal on the reading level in this house, too, at the moment.

Jacqui said...

Thorp, exactly.

Lisa, welcome! You may come to Jacqui's Room any time to tell me what a great mom I am :)

cath c, we'll see...

Anonymous said...

It is quite spooky how we are on the same wavelength!

I'm on the 7th Rainbow Fairies book...I read them to my daughters every night...I'm ready to hurl them out the window.

Why do they always have to GASP? Do you know how difficult it is to say "Kirsty gasped" and "the girls gasped" every page?

And why does the author write, "I'm Rachel" and then include the tag "Rachel said"?! If she's saying "I'm Rachel" then we know that Rachel's talking!


Anonymous said...

Um, I should say I want to hurl the books out the window, not my daughters. Although, when the oldest one had colic as a baby, the window idea wasn't looking too bad...

Jacqui said...

Tara, I know. We started the music fairies series today. La la la.

C.R. Evers said...

wow! The Iliad. I'm impressed! Go Tink!

Pat Zietlow Miller said...

My daughter, Sonia, who's seven, is deep into the Rainbow Fairies series and I let her read them for the same reasons you mentioned. But then, I read her on three consecutive nights, "The Little Prince" and "The Reluctant Dragon" and she was fascinated and asked intelligent questions. So it's neat that kids' tastes run the gamut.

WordWrangler said...

I have never heard of the fairy books y'all are talking about. I must get out more.

My 7 year old is reading Cam Jansen. Not the iliad - but still proud! :)


Michele Thornton said...

Ah, the Rainbow Faeries. Or, as I refer to them, The Evil Minions of Mediocrity. Sophie had her stint with them. Followed by an even darker period reading The Magic Kitten books. But, just like with your daughter, she surprises me all the time, and now we are reading The Lightening Thief (not quite Homer, but still, better than talking kittens that sparkle).

Jacqui said...

Christy, don't be impressed yet; I mean, it's not even Greek :)

Pat, The Little Prince is a great idea. Thanks.

WordWrangler, if they're not in your house, don't go looking!

Michele, The Evil Minions of Mediocrity pretty much sums it up.