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Paging Summer

Let’s Make It Better

Summer yawns ahead, hot and school-free. What better way to spend the afternoon than with a book? The TMN writers’ children fill us in on their latest reads and rethink the endings.

Barney, age 7 [“But I’m nearly 8.”]

Asterix and the Goths, by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo

What happens in the book?
Well, the druid is packing his things to go off to the Forest of the Carnutes. It’s the time of year that they elect Druid of the Year and discuss methods and magic potions. Asterix wants to come with him. Because it’s a dangerous journey. There are some Legionaries, and some Goths get them. The druid gets captured. Asterix and Obelix go to fetch him and spread confusion in Germania. Then the Goths will never invade them for a long, long time.

What did you think about the way it ended?
I think the ending was magnificent.

What do you imagine happens after the ending?
Well, I don’t really know. I can’t think. It’s hard to say. I can’t say, Dad, OK?

If you were the author, is there anything you would change about the book to make it better?
At the end, it could be a bit more funny.

What did you think of the pictures?
They’re brilliant, especially at the end where everyone has these big bruises on their heads and they’re sticking up like lumps.

What would your grandma think of the book?
[laughs] Funny!

 

Leven, age 3

Dinosaurs! Strange and Wonderful by Laurence P. Pringle, illustrated by Carol Heyer

What did you think about the way the book ended?
Uh… uh…. A T-REX! No… uh… I like the serapods! [We suspect he meant sauropods. —eds]

What do you think happens after the ending? After this last page, what happens next in the story?
Of course, I’m all done!

Is there anything you would change about the book to make it better?
YEAH!

What would make the book better?
Yeah! Yeah! Let’s make it better!

What did you think of the pictures?
One, two, three, four! Three allosaurus, there’s three allosaurus!

Do you think you were supposed to learn something from this book?
NO! [growls….. laughs]

 

Raimi, age 7

The 39 Clues Book 1: Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

What happens in the book?
These two annoying kids travel the world and seek the maze of bones and stuff like that.

What did you think about the way it ended?
I liked that they found the note. I like that the next book is about Mozart. I think I’ll have to study more about music and Mozart.

What was your favorite part?
I liked the magic box part. They had to fill in the missing numbers.

What did the cover make you think of?
Bones. Dead people like my grandfather. I should not have said that.

What would your grandma think of the book?
That it’s violent. Remember, it had a dart gun in it, and poison-tipped fingernails. That’s kind of violent. And the cute attack cat.

 

Simon, age 4

Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban

What happens in the book?
The badger likes to eat only bread and jam. But then she gets tired of it. Her mommy cooks spaghetti, and Frances cries, and then she gets spaghetti.

What did you think about the way it ended?
I like it. Frances learned to eat lots of things and her lunch was fancy.

What do you imagine happens after the ending?
She eats more bread and jam.

If you were the author what would you change to make the story better?
Frances would always eat cherries.

What would grandma think of the book?
She would like the story. She cooks lots of things.

Do you think the author wanted you to learn something?
Well, I like bread and jam.

 

Iris, age 7

Greek Myths for Young Children: Persephone and the Seasons by Heather Amery, illustrated by Linda Edwards

What happens in the book?
A girl named Persephone gets taken by the god Hades into the Underworld. Her mom is sad that her daughter’s gone and she won’t take care of the plants.

What did you think about the way it ended?
I liked it because she got to spend time with her mom and she got to go back.

What do you imagine happens after the ending?
Um… she goes back to the Underworld and makes Hades happy.

If you were the author, is there anything you would change about the book to make it better?
No. I wouldn’t change anything.

Are you sure?
Uh-huh, I’m sure.

Do you think the author wanted you to learn something?
Yes.

What?
I just want to say “Yes”… I don’t know what they want us to learn. [Iris’s dad, walking past, suggests, “Seasons?”] Uuuuugh! Daddy! Get out of here!

 

Olivia, age 7

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin

What happens in the book?
Two girls tease another girl named Wanda, and then they feel sorry.

What would your grandma think of the book?
I think she would think it was sad.

What did you think about the way it ended?
I didn’t like it because Wanda moves away and they never see her again.

What do you imagine happens after the ending?
I like to think that they visit her.

If you were the author, what would you change to make the story better?
I think Wanda should be in the book instead of all the stories being about her.

 

Toby, age 5

Curious George Goes to a Chocolate Factory by Margret and H.A. Rey

What happens in the book?
There was a cheeky monkey and he was being naughty eating all the chocolates in the bath.

What do you think about the way it ended?
Hmmm.

Did it end well? Was it a good ending?
No, it was a quite bad ending. Because he had a tummy ache.

So what do you imagine happens after the ending?
He went home to watch something and just went to bed.

So if you were the author, the person who wrote the book, is there anything you’d change about the book to make it better?
Yup.

What?
There are lots of monkeys and they are helping. Like lots of monkeys.

And do you think the author of the book wants you to learn something?
Hmmm.

What?
Get better at drawing and better at writing?

Maybe, not to mess around in chocolate factories?
Yes. Not to just mess around with chocolate and eat it.

Anything else you’d like to say about this book? Why do you like this one so much?
It reminds me of little [sister] Pippa when she is naughty.

TMN’s Contributing Writers know where to find the purple couch. Long live the pan flute, mini mafia, and Michael Jackson. More by The Writers