Wednesday, December 19, 2018

NY missive no 159 - Green Eggs and Ham and Harry Potter

A few weeks ago we were waiting outside the kids’ school for a parents’ evening, or something like that. JNH was sitting on the sidewalk buried in his latest Harry Potter. CMH was playing “CandyCrush” on C’s phone. I disapprovingly did was must be mighty annoying for brothers, a compare and contrast, and said to CMH that I hoped he would one day be curious enough to want to read books too.

That evening at bedtime, CMH, who I usually read a story to before bed, said that he wanted to read to me instead. He took “Green Eggs and Ham” off his bookshelf and proceeded to read it to me, slowly, carefully, paying attention to each word and with a gentle unspoken undercurrent of “see mami, I can read perfectly well.” Green Eggs and Ham has taken on a whole new level of significance now – I’ll never forget how completely he took ownership of the text, and carried me through the story.

"Would you, could you, on a boat?

I could not, would not, on a boat.

I will not, will not, with a goat.

I will not eat them in the rain.

I will not eat them on a train..."

JNH, for his part, has now whizzed through to the end of the Harry Potter books. I remember in my twenties when they came out, and the bookstores in London had huge lines of people through the night in advance of the next release. I snootily decided that as they were so popular I’d give them a miss. Now having read the first three to JNH, and heard updates from him as he read the last four himself, I’ve realized their magic of course. While people cautioned that the last book is intense and perhaps too grown up for an eight year old, we let him role with it (Matilda read Dickens at four I thought!!). Even though he might not have engaged with all the levels of meaning in the novel in the same way that a teenager would, he had his own unique experience of it.