Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bedtime Stories for Dragons

My seven-year-old is into the giant reptiles. Most of the time that means dinosaurs; lately he's been all about the Godzilla, but it also includes dragons.

A few months ago he came home from some book fair or other with a free copy of Eragon. We started reading a chapter a night at bedtime and made it a little past page 300, but he seems to have lost interest now. He's not even anxious to finish the movie, which he's had from Netflix since the beginning of November.

To be fair, I'm starting to enjoy the novel 300 pages in. Had it been just me reading it, it wouldn't have passed the 100-Page Rule, but it's starting to get good and I'd call it a better-than-average fantasy novel. A bit over-written in spots, but it's got some nice mysteries that I'm curious about and I've actually come to like the meandering way in which Christopher Paolini explores the plot. I'll probably finish it on my own sometime in the future.

For now though, David's moved on to something else.

I got review copies of the first two volumes in Scholastic's Hiro's Quest series and David was immediately interested in them. They're the story of a young ninja-in-training named Hiro who's trying to measure up to the legacy of his ninja parents and ninja older-brothers. Ninjas also have the power to transform into their spirit animal, but Hiro's having a hard time discovering what his is.

We're only two chapters in, but David's completely hooked. Any book with the phrase "karate rabbit" is good for some giggles, but what's really got him is the way author Tracey West ends each chapter on a cliff-hanger. Such a simple thing, but it's driving David crazy and he's begging for more each night. Eragon, on the other hand, typically ends chapters with everyone going to sleep. Again, such a simple thing. But so important in keeping readers interested, however old they are.

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