Summer reading, had me a blast . . .
I shouldn't use the past tense yet, though.
My mother has put me in charge of my younger brothers' summer schoolwork, which is mostly Maths and English. They have to complete a whole bunch of worksheets for the first subject and read at least one novel for the second. Brother #1 still has lots of trouble reading, but hardly ever makes a mistake when numbers are involved. Brother #2 can read anything (though his comprehension is yet to be measured), but is stumped when it comes to numbers. This will be . . . fun.
Incoming Grade Six Book List
The Secret Garden -- Frances Hodgson Burnett
Little Men -- Louisa May Alcott
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe -- C.S. Lewis
The Magician's Nephew -- C.S. Lewis
Prince Caspian -- C.S. Lewis
The Silver Chair -- C.S. Lewis
The Horse and His Boy -- C.S. Lewis
The Voyage of the Dawn [sic] -- C.S. Lewis
The Last Battle -- C.S. Lewis
Old Yeller -- Fred Gibson [sic]
Sixth Grade Secrets -- Louis Sachar
Holes -- Louis Sachar
Maniac Magee -- Jerry Spinelli
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry -- Mildred Taylor
Of Mice and Men -- John Steinbeck
The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle -- Hugh Lofting
Freak the Mighty -- Rodman Philbrick
Invisible Man [sic] -- H.G. Wells
The Giver -- Lois Lowry
Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH -- Robert O'Brien
Around the World in 80 Days -- Jules Verne
Call It Courage -- Armstrong Sperry
Number the Stars -- Lois Lowry
Harry Potter series -- J.K. Rowling
The Lost Prince -- Frances H. Burnett [???!!!???]
The Last of the Mohicans -- James Cooper
A Series of Unfortunate Events -- Lemony Snicket
Missing May -- Cynthia Rylant
The Egypt Game -- Zilpha Keatley Snyder
The City of Ember -- Jeanne DuPrau
My personal library being gloriously extensive, I told the boys to go look for the titles they wanted while I went over the list to see which books I didn't have. (Want to drive a bibliomaniac crazy? Give him a list with a lot of books he owns and a few books he doesn't own yet.)
After a search that took longer than usual, because my brothers are apparently not as used to library systems as they should be, one of them came back with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe . . . and the other with Prince Caspian.
I had on my best stern teacher look as I said, "Why is it that you boys have both picked books that were already made into movies, which you have already seen?"
The younger one tried being cute by looking up at me from under his lashes. "Because it's easier for us?"
"And didn't I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to you when you were in kindergarten?"
"I don't remember!"
"I do! You thought the name 'Tumnus' was so funny that--"
And I couldn't continue, because at the name "Tumnus" they both dissolved into laughter . . . just as they had once upon a time, all those years ago.
But I had to lay down the rule. And since I believe that the fewer rules there are, the fewer there are to break, I settled on the quickest, most arbitrary one: "If I don't approve a book, you may not read it for credit . . . though you may read it for fun!"
And just to make sure they knew I meant business, I called a Parent-Teacher conference with our mother!
"Why do we have to be there?" Younger Brother grumbled, as I loaded him down with books.
"Because this is actually a Parent-Teacher-Student conference," I said, piling more books in Older Brother's arms. "Now put these in the dining room. We're going to get started soon."
"Don't start until I get another table!" Older Brother said, trotting out with his arms full.
"What do you mean 'get another table'?" I called after him. "The dining room table is big enough!"
I discovered what I meant when I got there. The irrepressible boy had carried his own bedside table to the dining room and arranged three chairs around it. When he saw me staring, he explained, "I don't like big tables . . . but the books don't fit on this table, so we'll need another one."
The weirdness was seriously adorable. I let him do what he wanted.
Then our mother came over and the meeting began. More adorable weirdness ensued.
She and I ended up making our own commitment to read one novel from the list. Mom picked The Giver because she liked the cover. I chose Old Yeller because I had snapped up a used copy in great condition just a few weeks before. Older Brother settled on The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader"; Younger Brother, on Maniac Magee.
I'll let you know how this goes.