Friday, June 27, 2003

Jack Gantos audio book is AWESOME!
If you enjoy listening to books on tape, do not fail to find Joey Pigza Out of Control at your public library. The story is read by Gantos himself. I cannot imagine anyone else reading it to me. We were laughing so hard in one place that child No.3 rewound the tape several times to "hear that part again!" Gantos has three books about Joey Pigza. They are funny, tender, heart rending and triumphant.

We caught up on his "Jack" books last summer. They include, Jack on the Tracks, Heads or Tails, Jacks New Power and Jack's Black Book. Some parts are so funny they beg to be read aloud and shared but I found I was laughing so hard I couldn't get the words out. Sometimes we just have to scream!

More Harry Potter help!
If you need help with terms, names or magical creatures you can access the Harry Potter Lexicon for help. It is at It is my experience that kids re-re-re-re-re-read these books so many times they remember everything. I am going to have to access my family database for help if I am not near a computer.

Order of the Phoenix, pt. 3
I have not started Harry Potter V yet so I am reading reviews and commentary through my fingers because I do not want to know anything about the story. The Fort Worth Star Telegram's Jeff Guin has a good piece on classic fantasy literature. He writes:
"Any extended series in fantasy fiction inevitably becomes allegorical, particularly those about young people battling evil. In the 20th century alone, L. Frank Baum (the Oz books), J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit, the Rings trilogy), C.S. Lewis (the Narnia chronicles) and T.H. White (The Once and Future King) all crafted tales of wizards and enchanted weapons and talismans. As their stories advanced from book to book, so did their messages -- about the curious seductive power of war, the dangers of accepting governmental decrees without questioning them, the responsibility of all individuals to oppose evil at any personal cost. And though these books were ostensibly written for young readers, they mesmerize adults, too.

There's no longer any question that J.K. Rowling belongs on this short list of superior modern authors whose philosophy-disguised-as-children's-fiction has left a permanent mark on modern-day culture.