Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Holiday-Week Pick

Are you and the kinder driving each other crazy this break? In the spirit of d├ętente, I offer up a Pick of the Week that my own kid and I agree on: 

This novel by Marie Rutkowski is the first in a trilogy that Ada devoured in short order. I've only made it through the first two, but find the inaugural book to be a lot more compelling (for the record, Ada disagrees). As it turns out, Ada and I not only agree that we really like this book, we agree on the reason why. 

"It's weird," my daughter enthuses. "I mean, how many people have a metal spider?" (This is a reference to the protagonist, Petra's, pet, made by her magic-wielding metalsmith of a father, along with a whole metal menagerie.) "Or can steal eyeballs?" (I'll refrain from elaborating here, in the interest of not spoiling the rest of the plot). "And I love that it happens in a real time" (the Middle Ages), "in a real place" (Bohemia, now the Czech Republic), "and that fake stuff is mixed up with the real stuff." To which I can only respond, "Exactly." 

It's this mingling of the historic and the fantastical that makes the book a success—and Petra's spider, Astrophil, affectionate despite his cold exterior, and also a voracious reader, is only one small part of the equation. The world that Rutkoski has created holds true even though we know that it is punctuated with non-realities. In fact, it is all of its charm. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Next week, I'll be celebrating Agricultural Literacy Week by reading The Honeybee Man to 2nd graders at PS 29, PS 3 and PS 41. As an added bonus, I'll also be spending Earth Day with 1st and 2nd graders at the United Nations International School. Can't wait to meet you all, and to find out what you know and love about honeybees!