Thursday, January 01, 2009

Yuletide Juvenile Reading

DarwinCatholic has been reading A Christmas Carol to the younguns, and overthinking the Muppet version of the Dickens classic. Personally I like to introduce Boz through the weird but child-pleasing story "The Magic Fishbone." (Or, if the Darwins prefer to launch the children right in to full Dickens mode, I think that if they consult volumes III and IV of their lovely old set of Miller's My Book House, they will find representative chapters from The Old Curiosity Shop and David Copperfield, beautifully illustrated.)

We in the Opinionated Household have been doing Christmastide read-alouds as well. Offspring #2 enjoyed E. T. A. Hoffman's Nutcracker, and highly recommends the edition illustrated by Maurice Sendak. If you haven't read the original, it's much, much weirder than the ballet version.

Offspring #1 loved James Joyce's "The Dead" for her holiday read-aloud, and if you haven't read it yourself since college, go read it again as an older and presumably wiser person. This would also be a good time to read at least the first story of Dubliners--Joyce wrote the stories in a definite order, developing certain themes, and "The Sisters" at the collection's beginning is a companion piece to "The Dead" at the end. This would be a good time to rent the wonderful John Huston movie version, but then any time is a good time for that.


Anonymous Nancy Wendell said...

Just to let you know. There is a curiously funny version of The Dead called The Ugly, by Irish playwright, Anne Pigone. Freely available on the Internet it is. For next Christmas maybe?

4:12 AM  
Blogger mrsdarwin said...

We have Sendak's Nutcracker and read it aloud last year to the ballet-obsessed ladies. Have you read the intro? I love how the director and Sendak talked over the implications of the plot and design and bravely decided that the only logical place for the action to climax was: an 18th-century seraglio! Darwin and I about fell over laughing, and the line has become a catchphrase around here.

7:07 AM  
Blogger Darwin said...

Also excellent for Christmas reading to a young lady about the age of your #2 is The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden.

We invariably end up reading it several times a year, though this year we haven't hit it yet during Christmas season. (Hey, it's not Candlemass yet, right?)

You and #1 might perhaps enjoy the movie of The Dead which was the last film John Houston directed before his death.

3:03 PM  
Blogger Darwin said...

Doh. So much for my reading skills. Somehow I missed the last sentence of your post when writing the last sentence of my comment.

That's what I get for reading in dribs and drabs at work.

8:58 AM  

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