Monday, June 28, 2010
Dear Great Book Guru, My children have just finished school and we are looking for some great books to read together through the lazy, hazy days of summer. Do you have any suggestions?
Book Loving Parent
Dear Book Loving, What a splendid idea! I remember with great fondness my family's summers spent reading the novels of Roald Dahl. Dahl is the cranky, sinister author of many wonderful books that appeal to both children and adults. MATILDA is the tale of a very young , very bright child who finds herself with the most boorish and boring of parents- parents who encourage her to watch TV all day and forbid her to read! Well, Matilda finds hilarious ways to circumvent her dear parents. My daughter Gillian particularly loved this book. My son Justin's favorite Dahl was THE WITCHES- this is a mildly terrifying book- just right for most 8 to 10 year-olds who still enjoy communal readings but crave some adventure and gore. The hero of WITCHES has been turned into a mouse by a coven of witches who are having their annual convention in the resort where he and his grandmother are vacationing. As with all Dahl novels, good triumphs in a bizarre but satisfying way. TWITS was probably my son Daniel's first choice, not because of its literary merit, but because the brutish, ill-kempt albeit lovable characters reminded him of friends and family. Not a family read aloud, but definitely a good choice for the adults in the crowd is THE IRREGULARS- ROALD DAHL AND THE WASHINGTON SPY RING by Jennet Conant. Dahl turns out to have been working for the British government as an undercover agent in Washington. His assignment was to undermine the American isolationist movement whose goal had been to keep the U.S. out of World War II. Definitely more James Bond than JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH- another family Dahl favorite!