You guys! So you remember how excited I was to find out Ferdinand was being made into a movie? Well, the Little Man and I had a date to see Ferdinand last week and after a false start with a sold-out showing and calming down a pissed off child with an ice-skating adventure, we finally got to see my childhood fav up on the big screen. Whenever a favorite book gets turned into a movie, there’s a huge chance the director will take beloved characters and plotlines and turn them on their head (HP, Twilight, I’m talking to you). There’s also the chance the director will take the book and magically transform everything in your imagination directly onto the big screen. Wimpy Elijah Wood as Frodo aside, Lord of the Rings was fantastic for this. While it’s easy to see how they can turn chapter and series books into movies, it’s a bit harder to see how a director will stay true to a story from a children’s book that’s less than 20 pages, so I was very interested to see what they’d do with Ferdinand.
After I've finished a good book, I usually head over to Amazon to check out the reviews and see if there were any insights or interesting tidbits that I missed or see if anyone else felt a certain way about this character or that event. When skimming reviews for Percy Jackson, I was blown away by how many people felt Rick Riordan had followed a bit too closely in J.K Rowling's footsteps. This was interesting, because while reading the book, not once did I think "Wow..this is just like Harry Potter". After discussing with my favorite bibliophile, we both agreed the reviewers panning Percy Jackson as a Harry Potter knock off had done a lazy comparison of the two books.
We tend to think of materialism and a desire to hold on to and collect physical objects as a modern day enigma, one born of mass production and fast fashion. Imagine my surprise when this theme popped up unexpectedly in the strangest of places, the final chapters of The Little House on the Prairie. The book ends dramatically when the Ingalls family finds their homestead, along with a few of their neighbors, is unintentionally but illegally located on Indian Land. Rather than face the soldiers tasked with removing these settlers by force, Pa decides it's best for the family to move along before the soldiers arrive.
As the one year anniversary of my Grandma's passing creeps slowly closer, I've been drawn subconsciously to all things reminiscent of her. During the months after her passing, I found myself dialing her number on the way home from work to share a funny story or searching in a drawer for the perfect postcard to mail. Catching myself in these moments hurt deeply and I had to delete her phone number from my contacts using my laptop. It felt too intimate, too personal somehow to do this on the phone itself. While these moments have mercifully ceased, the other day, I found myself drawn to a section in the library that held all of the books my Grandma read with me as a little girl.
My absolute favorite children's book of all time is the 1936 classic, The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. My grandmother read it to me as a child and I've read it to Huck as least 1000 times in the last few years. History has it that Leaf wrote the story in a single afternoon as a way to help his friend, Robert Lawson, showcase his artistic talent. The book was a hit, and at $1 per copy the 1938 sales topped those of the ever popular Gone with the Wind. The Story of Ferdinand has never been out of print despite the many political waves this little story has caused.
My son, who we'll call Huck in this blog, LOVES story time and was very disappointed that Mommy couldn't read him his favorite books while driving him to school in the morning. I attempted a few "from memory" recitations, which never quite hit the mark, before remembering my brother and I having several books on tape that we would sit and listen to over and over and over and over again. On our next library visit, we found the "reading kits" which contain the book for the child to read and the cd for them to listen. We picked out several and headed home. The ride home (and all subsequent car rides for the next week) was awesome, until it became apparent we were going to listen to the same 5 min story 15 times for each car ride. Cue the Nancy Drew audio book in the wrong location.