Friday, November 11, 2005

The First Task

OK, so The First Task is quite exciting. And, yes, i reread it an extra time or two for good measure, and when i read it to my seven year old, i used a bit of The Hungarian Horntail as a teaser to start things off. His reading has really taken off, now that he's eight, and reading really exciting stories to him is likely part of it. Yeah, he probably stayed up a little later for a few nights when we got to The First Task, but one of the results is that after doing homework (and often before) which is mostly reading, after all, he begs to take a break, so he can read one of his other books. Its very exciting.

A few weeks ago, i let him do pretty much whatever he wanted most of the weekend. He read a 197 page book. While its not a book i'd have wanted to read (i was never into ghost stories), its not one of the really easy books either. No pictures. And he spent five and six hours at a time on it. This is a great achievement for someone with a seven second attention span. Really, he must be in the top hundredth of the top percentile of distractability. Brilliant as he is, this is still three thousand times as much work as he can normally do without constant encouragement. OK, he had constant encouragement - but not from me. The book itself was compelling. That, and the great stories he has heard as written by people like Rowling. She's spent over twenty years on this project, and i'm grateful. There are those that want to know what she'll do after book seven. I'll be ecstatic when she finishes book seven, even though she's hinted all over the place on whats in it. For details, please see her collected works.

They talk about the Harry Potter Phenomenon. Kids just pick up the books and consume them. The last time there was anything remotely like it was probably The Lord of the Rings. I started it in forth grade. The Hobbit didn't take that long, but i lost some momentum in the trilogy proper. When i'd finished it, which might have been during high school, i recognized how good it was, and reread the entire series over a Christmas break. As good as The Lord of the Rings is, it hardly compares to Harry Potter. I've mentioned Ender's Shadow, also certainly among the best books ever written, in my humble opinion. But Harry is accessible to a younger crowd too.

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