Friday, November 07, 2008

The Horn Book Got Me Into Trouble Today

I had to take today off to go recreational shopping with two relatives. Four hours of shopping (plus quite a lousy lunch) and one and a half hours of drive time. Each way. So on the way there, I very graciously offer to sit in the back seat where I can inconspicously read from the magazines I stashed in the enormous bag I was carrying.

Unfortunately, one of the first things I read was Questions for Li'l Readers in the new issue of The Horn Book Magazine. In this learned article, author Miriam Glassman speculates about discussion question for picture books on a par with those she's seen in middle-grade and YA fiction marketed to parent-child book groups.

I was reading her first few questions for Green Eggs and Ham--"The main character in this book is named Sam, yet he's always referred to as 'Sam-I-am.' What's with that? Do you think the narrator has that reading problem where all the words get mixed up?"--when I started laughing.

You know how when one person laughs, other people start laughing? Well, that's not what happened here. Someone in the front seat started yelling at me for reading when I ought to be talking with them.

You know what they were talking about? Whether or not one of them should buy an electric fireplace for her living room. I had to stop reading to discuss whether those things throw any heat. Like I know.

Then I suggested I read them other funny bits from the article, so we could all share in the experience. I figured it would be as if I were talking to them, but different. I read them a couple of Glassman's questions for Curious George. "Do you sometimes wish your dad was like the man with the yellow hat? Has your dad ever let you smoke a pipe? How was it?"

They didn't get it. I don't think they knew who Curious George is.

On the way home I snuck out The Horn Book again (it's a very convenient size for this sort of thing) and just read reviews. They didn't catch me that time.

By the way, this month's issue includes an article on e-book readers called Better Than a Suitcase by Sheila Ruth.



Blogger Bibliovore said...

Seriously? Discussion questions for Dr. Seuss? Tell me this is a passing thing, and I'm not going to be on the hook for a 3-5 year old book club. Oy.

10:30 PM  
Blogger Sherry said...

It's hard to have a meaningful conversation with anyone who doesn't know who Curious George is. Or with anyone who think shopping is recreation. YOur story reminds me of the books I used to take to math class to sneak-read behind my algebra book.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Roger Sutton said...

If they were going OUTLET SHOPPING I would have totally been on your relatives' side. But I'm glad we made you laugh.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Libby said...

Obviously you were traveling with the wrong people! I'm sure there are people in the kidlitosphere who would have laughed *and* who can take a little (though maybe not four hours!) recreational shopping.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Sheila Ruth said...

Recreational shopping? I seriously don't get people who think of shopping as recreation. Tell you what - let's get together sometime and go recreation shopping, except we'll skip the shopping and just sit together and read, and share the funny parts with each other. Thanks for the shout-out about my article.

12:16 AM  

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