Tuesday, February 16, 2010
what is new is old
If you have a reader in your family between the ages of about seven and eleven, then you will certainly have heard of Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The story's the same as always: young outcast finds out he is the chosen one. It's been called a rip off by so many; there is no need to add my voice to the critics.
What matters to me is this: Percy Jackson and the Olympians-The Lightning Thief is the first novel (besides the graphic novels of classics he reads at school) that my 9-year-old son finished on his own. In anticipation of the movie release on Feb. 12th, I began reading it to him. About 3/4 of the way through, I realized we would never finish in time--if he wanted to see the film, he would have to finish the book on his own. He wasn't happy about this. And yet, inspired by his friends Ursen and Albert, he persisted.
Today, Bennett proudly proclaimed to me that he is on chapter 4 in the next book in the series (there are five). It will most likely be the first book he will have read from cover to cover. I knew his time would come.
Because of Percy Jackson, my older son's knowledge of Greek mythology is far superior to mine. Recently, while admiring a painting with me in a local gallery (it's number 4), he had the opportunity to fill in my knowledge gaps on the subject of Morpheus. Nothing like being lectured to by a 10-year-old in front of a group of strangers!
Last Friday, a group of us took the afternoon off from school in order to be the first ones to see the film. The boys made their own Camp Half-Blood t-shirts and beaded necklaces. Suzanne found her inner Medusa, and I had no problem being "the fury hiding inside the teacher". Together, our geeky fun-loving clan took up an entire row of the theater!
The movie, quite frankly, was pretty mediocre. Enough has been written about that as well. But I have found you can pretty much enjoy anything, as long as you lower your expectations, and smuggle chocolate into the show! After the movie, over bagels and cream cheese, the kids and grown ups discussed the differences between the book and the movie. (Far too many to even begin!)
There will be time enough to become serious critics of literature and film. Until then, we will continue to be inspired and entertained by the same old story. Inspired to dress up, to make believe, and to dream our lives into bigger possibilities.