Thursday, April 15, 2010
Clash of the Olympians--The Battle for the Books
Can a book start a war?
I've heard that Abraham Lincoln credited Harriet Beecher Stowe with starting the Civil War because she wrote, UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, and Edward Bulwer-Lytton said "the pen is mightier than the sword in his play RICHELIEU. But until a few weeks ago, I didn't realize the extent of social upheaval a book (or a set of books) could create within the confines of my own home.
Let me start out by saying I love to see my kids read. I'm always excited when by first or second grade they get beyond just sounding out words and have moved on to actual books. I love sharing the books I've read with my kids and I love it when they share their books with me. AND I love it when they share books with each other--usually.
And therein lies...
The Battle for the Books
In a far off land known as Olympia (not Olympus) a young maiden fell in love--in love with the tales of a boy named Percy Jackson. (PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS--Series by Rick Riordan)
And she read.
In the same land dwelt her nemesis, older brother, and sometimes avid reader himself. He happened upon one of the tales of Percy Jackson and he fell in...serious enjoyment (he's a teen aged boy, love is a little strong).
The young maiden was mired in basketball and homework and so soon her nemesis overtook her in reading the Tales of Percy Jackson. This caused a problem, nay a war, because although an order was in to the Shop of the Amazons, the Tales were on back order. Therefore when the young maiden's nemesis beat her to the school library (he having first lunch) he was able to get to the next tale of Percy Jackson (book three--THE TITAN'S CURSE) for himself.
And there was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. Therefore, the mother went on a quest for peace--to locate the next Tale. Alas, the stores were sold out.
The young maiden tried hiding the books from her nemesis but to no avail. The mother tried bargainings and threatenings, but the battles raged. Words like demigod and minotaur became common household words. An argument ensued over whether hippocampi could fly or only swim. After one heated discussion the young maiden told her brother to go to Tartarus. (I had to look it up after I sent her to her room.) During the course of the war a younger sibling took an interest and he began to read the Tales as well. The third book turned to the fourth book and the fourth book turned to the fifth, and war raged on, until the day when both the young maiden and her nemesis had completed all the tales.
And peace ensued. (Until the young maiden was caught hogging the bathroom.)
So who triumphed in the end?
Although peace in the household was sacrificed for a time, the young maiden and her nemesis complete all five of the Tales of Percy Jackson, and their younger sibling is now reading that fateful third tale. (The shop of the Amazons finally came through).
What more could a mother ask for then her children fighting over reading? (Complete sanity in the household not being an option.) They're going to fight anyway, it might as well be over something educational. The younger sibling (9) has developed the same love of reading that his brother and sister have. AND it has opened up a fun discussion between the three of them. They actually have something in common!
Unfortunately the mother is mired down in housework, chasing the young conquerors, and trying to do her own writing. She has to leave the room whenever a reference to Percy Jackson comes up in conversation for fear of uncovering some truth she wants to for herself. (She's only read the first one.)
So this tale comes with a warning...
By all means introduce the PERCY JACKSON AND THE OLYMPIANS into your household, but if you have more than one reader, you might want to get enough copies to avoid The Battle for the Books.
Now that we've made it past the battles I want to know...What books have you shared with your family? What makes a book appeal to several different ages?