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Bedtime Stories

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Every weekend we make a family trip to the local library (Island Trees Public Library). Danielle, our seventeen-year-old, loves to read. She usually gets at least three books every time we go, and she finishes them all every time. I enjoy reading, but I couldn’t possible gobble up a book the way she does. Our youngest, the eight-year-old, usually gets a few books but then don’t touch them till it’s time to take them back. This past week however I picked up The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, and for the past week, I’ve been reading a chapter to the little one at night before bed. Most of you, I’m sure, have seen the movie version. You always hear people say how the books that movies are based off are so much better. Well, let’s just add this book to the list.

Everyone knows the opening fantasia scene where you meet the Rockbiter and the little guy on the racing snail and the other character that flies on the bat. The first chapter of the book goes into detail about who they are, what they’re doing, and where they come from that the movie never even touches on. In fact, I went back and watched the movie, just to refresh my memory on the various items in the story. Now as I read the story to the little one, I’m amazed at just how much was cut out of the screen version of the story. Not that I’m knocking the movie at all, it fit as much as it could in the time it had.


But the book is so interesting. Of course the character names leave you wanting, but you have to remember that the book was written in German and so the fantastical names are even more out there. If you think you might have had a hard time with some of the Lord of the Rings names while reading those books, you’re going to have a real issue with these names. Just to make life easier I changed the names a bit (actually, I really just shortened or used the movie version of the names). All in all, however, it’s been a lot of fun reading the book to her. I’ve realized that at the rate we’re going there’s no way we’re going to be able to finish the book by the time it’s due to be returned to the library. So we’ll just have to rent it again. The real fun of this whole thing is that I know that this story is going to stay in her mind forever; it’s certainly staying in mine. And the memories that we’re making together will stay with her. The only unfortunate part of this is that when she sees the movie she’s going to be so disappointed that it’s not the movie. But what can you do, it’s just one of the things we deal with in our entertainment industry.


Just to put this out there, one of the best ways in my opinion to experience a book is to hear it read aloud. Sure, you can do some great things with your own imagination when you’re reading, but when you hear someone else reading, your imagination runs even wilder. At least it does for me. A movie forces you to accept the movies interpretations, while reading limits your ability to truly get lost in the stories world. Having it read to you allows you to close your eyes and truly escape into that world. Orson Scott Card, the writer of Enders Game, speaks about this in the audio book version of his book Enders Shadow. Both of those stories by the way are great books for boys. As a matter of fact, Ender’s Game is listed as one of the books all boys should read according to The Dangerous Book for Boys by Gon and Hal Iggulande. And for those of you out there that think they would have trouble sitting and reading out loud for any reason, know this: I haven’t said an entire sentence of this book so far perfectly. I mess up things left and right. But I keep on going and no one notices. Even when I give the wrong voice for a line (yes, I even do the voices for the different characters) I just keep on going. Besides all that, it’s so much fun to escape to this fantastic world. For me, it reminds me that I still have a child hidden inside me, and this lets me let him out for a breath of fresh air. Just an FYI, there’s also The Daring Book for Girls by the same author.


This may a bit off topic, but it’s my parting thought for the week, so deal. I was sitting in my car having lunch a while back and I was watching a small family of geese. The mother was meandering along the grass stopping to eat here and there, the father was standing tall looking over the area and watching everything that approached the area and the two little baby geese were eating and bouncing around as they do. At one point, the mother goose decided it was time to move on a bit so she just started to walk away. The Father continued to watch but followed along slowly. There were no sounds, no quacks or squawks or whatever the sound that a goose would make would be called. The chicks saw that mom was leaving and quickly caught up with her only to be followed by dad once they were there.


 I kept noticing the same reaching by the young of many of the mammals in all those animal planet type shows. You can go ahead and make whatever assumption you like from that, but for me it made me realize two things. One, what it is that I should be doing in regards of my family. My job is pretty simple—keep my family protected. Of course, we humans are bit more complicated in what we have to do, but the same concept still applies. The other was that the chicks didn’t need to be reprimanded or threatened to do what they should do, it was automatic. And I leave you with that thought. Do your kids ever show that type of behavior, or have you noticed it with others? Thanks everyone for reading, a please feel free to leave a comment. Especially if you’re looking for some input on a situation, I’m pretty good at listening. You can also email me. I’m happy to help where ever I can. Ciao for now, and Have FUN.

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