I am preparing this post on Tuesday evening because I fully expect by Read Aloud Thursday to be the proud mother of a baby boy, or at least to be awfully close to it. If my posting is spotty over the next few days, you can guess why. 🙂 I’ll try to keep you posted when I can.
I didn’t know when I started this particular read-aloud that it would take us a while to get through it since I had never read it myself. The Secret Garden is a dense book, full of description, but my girls did suprisingly well with it. By the end of the story, Louise was pretty antsy (we read three chapters in a row in order to finish it on Tuesday before the blessed chaos of a new baby descends upon the House of Hope), but I think even she, in all her 4 1/2 year old wiggliness, really enjoyed it. Actually, I know she did–witness this conversation, held some time last week:
Louise: “I wish this story were real.”
Louise: “Because I love it.”
I can’t argue with that. 🙂
This is a perfectly lovely story–the writing fairly sings at times. Sometimes I tire of description myself, but somehow Burnett managed to make all the description in this story significant. My only reservation with this story is the emphasis on Magic (capitalized, no less) as the source of what “cures” Colin. I was fairly uncomfortable with the whole idea, and honestly, I censored the book (just a tiny bit) so as to avoid some of the more problematic aspects of it. I don’t mind magical stories in general too much usually, but something about the way this one is written bothered me just a bit. I think it was the idea presented toward the end of the story–that faith and Magic are actually one and the same thing, only we know them by different names. Colin even says so:
“Perhaps they are both the same thing. How can we know the exact name of everything?” (285)
Even though I had not read this book before (‘though I had watched the movie 😉 ), I already knew about this bit of controversy thanks to Janet’s post from last month. I think I’d like to revisit this story when my girls are older and really talk about it.
Actually, there is one more problematic area concerning this novel for me: the Yorkshire accent/diction! Oh my. I’m sure I butchered it. I really wanted my girls to hear what it sounds like, and I even tooled around the ‘net for an example for us to listen to, but in the end we made do with this audiobook from the library. Since the girls listened to almost the entire story in audio format, I suppose that negates my censoring of the novel, but at least they got to hear what has to be closer to a Yorkshire accent than this Southern girl can manage.
Our copy of this novel (which is the image above) includes gorgeous color illustrations by Tasha Tudor (whom I’ve written about here). My girls always look forward to the illustrations in chapter books, and these are particularly noteworthy.
I’m not sure which chapter book we’ll tackle next. I think I’ll choose something a little shorter since it took us a while to get through this one. Besides, we’ll be a little busy over the next few weeks. 😉
What about your family? What have you been enjoying together? Leave a link to your blog post detailing your read-alouds, or simply leave a comment. My response time might be a little slow this week, but I promise to do my best to come back and read every post! 🙂
Have a beautiful Read Aloud Thursday!