A friend of mine recently asked me to recommend a Ray Bradbury "chapter book" for her seven year-old son (I think a chapter book is a children's book with short, easy-to-read chapters and some illustrations, and that you can read to a child before bed, one chapter at a time, or something like that--correct me if I'm totally wrong).
She asked me this because she knows how much I love Ray, and I think she's read some of his stories so she knows of his imaginative style.
This is an important decision to me because it's an opportunity for me to expose a young mind to his magical writings. I'm thinking of Dandelion Wine, Switch On The Night or The Halloween Tree.
Dandelion Wine might be a little too long for a seven year-old, although it is one of his episodic novels, so it might not be too important for him to follow the continuity of the entire story. But the editions that I have don't have any illustrations, except for a few little tiny ones here and there.
I haven't read Switch On The Night. All the reviews I've read are extremely positive, and I love the idea of it: a little boy is afraid of the dark, and a girl shows him how to look at the darkness in a different way so he won't be afraid of it anymore. But I get a sense that it might be kind of dark and scary.
The Halloween Tree is great but I think that this book is best when you read it close to Halloween, though that might not matter.
Any comments or other book ideas?This message has been edited. Last edited by: DavidTVC15,
SWITCH ON THE NIGHT would be perfect for a seven-year old child. It's a sweet story, and not dark or scary at all (in my opinion). It's message is that the night time is filled with wonders (such as the stars and the moon), and that there is no reason to be afraid of the dark. The first editon of this book from the 1950's is scarce and expensive, but the re-issue illustrated by the Dillons is inexpensive, and copies are realtively easy to find, especially on websites such as the Advanced Book Exchange.
DANDELION WINE and THE HALLOWEEN TREE may be too advanced for a seven-year-old.
If the seven year old is interested in dinosaurs, you could try DINOSAUR TALES. It's a collection of Bradbury's dinosaur stories (there are only a few) and each one has illustrations.
Thank you all. I decided to get Switch On The Night. I ordered it from Abe and since it's one of the few RB books I haven't read, I'll read it first, both for me and to make sure that it would be good for him, but I'm sure it is. If I find out that he's into dinosaurs I might get him Dinosaur Tales later, it's one of his greats.This message has been edited. Last edited by: DavidTVC15,
AHMED & THE OBLIVION MACHINES.
Dinosaurs Tales is a very nice collection of kid friendly stories, I agree. I recall reading these to our guys when they were about 8 and 10 years old. I have always highly regard "Besides a Dinosaur, Whatta Ya Wanna Be When You Grow Up?" (Numerous illustrators combined to capture the stories in their own way. Nice!)
I have taught Dandelion Wine for many years. I never cease to be marveled by the beautiful imagery that abounds on every page of this story. An illustrated version would be a real treat! Yes, I know, use your imagination and travel back to 1928. The thing is, current youth, 10-16yrs. of age - let's say, typically do not have the historical references nor the knowledge of the allusions that fill the pages. (The likes of the traveling magician Ching Ling Soo, neighborhood boarding houses, daily games of kick the can, horse drawn trading wagons, people talking on front porches, and ice houses!)
I am currently doing DW with a sophomore honors class of about twenty students. They are a group of highly motivated and well-read teens. Yet, they truly enjoy the words read aloud and the explanations of the events detailing the era and culture of "Green Town." Alas, Mr. B had it right once again, over fifty years ago. He describes an American lifestyle going the way of the buffalo, the painted trolley, the local shoe emporium, the friend who always was there - then suddenly departed!
In the right hands, could this not make a great nostalgic movie, or is glitz, glamor, and glory the only game left in Hollywood!?
Think (with Cameo Performances) ~ looking out from an airy cupola as the movie opens and the sun just begins rising over the countryside far out. Lights flicking on here and there, and then the narrative begins. Brothers wrestle down a hill, dungarees and shirts covered with the stains of ripe berries; a wonderful all knowing grandfather always saying just the right thing; a best friend who could "run laughing" and hit baseballs into trees so that all of the apples fell down to his friends - and kindest of all - he would teach you the words to all of the cowboy songs he knew, if you only asked! And then - Mr. Sanderson's business transaction, the Green Machine's whirring about, Mrs. Bentley's omnipresent stuff, the Ravine's sounds and smells, the Lonely One's terror, Mr. Black's penny arcade, the WINE in the bottles - golden and sweet; then AHH!, the magnificent machines: Leo's Happiness and Colonel Freeleigh's Time.
Etc. etc. etc...simply a poetic piece of writing from page 1 page to page 239 when the Summer of 1928 is put to sleep and the sun sets on Grandparents Spauldings' cupola!
*DavidTVC15, I think you need a copy of DW, illustrated by your oral reading at night just before lights out! Maybe Santa would help! Just a thought.
It could make a great nostalgic movie, but where are the explosions and the vampires? And who could we put on the soundtrack album?
[In the words of Homer Simpson, "By the way, I was being sarcastic." ]
Phil, right...right...and right!!
A film director (I forget who) once told Ray that he'd love to film one of his books. Ray said "how would you do it?". The director said "I'd rip the pages out of your book and stuff them into the movie camera". Ray tells this story whenever he starts complaining about the Hollywood, big studio way of making movies--writers and directors always wanting to change things because they think that they can improve on the original story. This is the only way that Dandelion Wine would make a decent movie.
The very first scene in the book--wow, can't you just visualize it? A small boy standing by his bedroom window, waving his finger like a magic wand, commanding the world around him to wake up so the first day of summer can begin.
On a somewhat related note, the Miscellany posts are talking about the 2 new graphics for next summer. Great. Then why not Dandelion Wine!?
Talk about keeping the illustrators busy!
So, as my class was entering today, one young lady commented, "Is there a movie of Dandelion Wine?". We are about 130 pages into the book (Col. Freeleigh, et al). When I informed her "not," she and a few others (15-16yrs.) in the area of our conversation indicated the story would make a great movie! (That decides it. When do we start ripping the pages and loading the film!?)
Two years ago, I sat in Mr B's den and told him that I would be happy to write the screenplay for a film version, that as a lover of the book, I would insure it was written correctly! He told me that he had just sold it to the Russians!
They better do a good job!
DS: What if we were to do something on the board, as astute RB'ers. Just think how the pages would sound getting ripped out in just the right way!?
The photos Ray was sent of the area selected for the filming were perfect, he said. Just like Green Town looked like in the 30s.
John King Tarpinian
You know what you are, Mr. Bradbury? ... You are a poet! -- Aldous Huxley
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