Friday, October 03, 2008

Input sought on classics for children

Gina Dalfonzo is asking teachers and parents to weigh in on what classic short stories they use for elementary-school-level reading. One of her reasons for asking is that she loathes many of the stories she was subjected to as a child. This is not to mention that several of them gave her nightmares.

As an aside, I find myself in some disagreement with Dalfonzo on a few particulars. I liked "The Gift of the Magi," and I really liked "The Necklace." But I'm not sure I ran into either of these at school. (Which would make them discoveries, not assignments. I had some really nice assignments, mind you, but there is a sweetness to discovery, I think.) I think I ran into them when I was a bit older, too, which would make a difference, I suspect.

I agree with her on "The Lady or the Tiger." I never did 'get' that. Or like it. (The Frank Stockton book Rudder Grange, on the other hand, happened into my life at just the right time for it, and I laughed my head off. It's about a couple of young things with their heads in the clouds who write a manual on setting up housekeeping, before having any experience whatsoever in setting up housekeeping, and then who marry and set out to live by their manual. But the world, alas, isn't much impressed with their theories, and won't cater to their unreasonable ideas.)

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