Saturday, July 21, 2007

I finished my homework, can I blog now?

I made Deathly Hallows our book group selection for August, so this really was homework for me. Since I legitimately had the book at around noon on Wednesday, I don't really have any excuse for not finishing until 9 this evening, but I had some napping to do. Having finished, I don't really want to jump into the spoiler threads yet. I know I'm going to spend way too much time talking about it in the next weeks.

The thing about a Harry Potter release is that it's a kind of secular High Holiday. Part of the experience is knowing that everyone is experiencing the same text at pretty much the same time. But if you push that metaphor, you'll find I'm not in the congregation with the rest of you. I'm more like the office staff that made sure the childcare was lined up and arranged the kiddush and sent out all the mailings. And it does make it harder to get into the experience because you're oriented to everyone else's.

For tonight, I want just a little while of feeling like there was a possibility that I read it just to enjoy it.

* * * * *

Can I tell you about Z.'s wand? At the party last night, she made a wand "just like all de odder big kids" and somehow there was a Tallulah in the craft box--I think someone on my my staff must have shoved it in the box when it fell out of a Maisy pop-up book. So her wand is peuple, and it has Tallulah on it. Wow! (Edited to add: we don't watch the Maisy TV show b/c we don't watch TV, only Wallace and Gromit videos, but I found this description of the Maisy-Tallulah relationship fascinating. And on the topic of Wallace and Gromit videos, I think we are ready to branch out. Any suggestions?)


Julia said...

I was wondering when you get the book. Seems like getting HP 2 some odd days before everyone else is a good enough reason to open a bookstore.

And I still don't have the book...
I am, in your metaphor, a Jew stranded by unseasonable weather in a completely Jew-free town, with no way to get to shul, and no prayer books (not to mention a minion).

Right, videos... Monkey loved Shrek, and still does. Cars was a big hit around here. Of the episodic variety... we did Wiggles. Not all the time, but we did love them. Now, granted Monkey didn't speak English, so this did double duty for her-- entertainment and intro to kid music and basic kid English. We also have some kick-ass cartoons from the old country that have no words in them, just music and action. So you know, if you are interested... And we have some great ones that do have words, but those will do you no good, I am afraid.

S. said...

No, Julia, no! Not the Wiggles! Tell me it ain't so! Oh, Z. would love them, alright, but as for her earworm-susceptible parents ... it seems to me like an even bigger tactical mistake than letting her know that videos exist in the first place.

I would be totally into the wordless Old Country cartoons!

I hope you get your siddur soon!

Phantom Scribbler said...

We brought a Maisy video home from the library once. My head exploded a few minutes in, and that was the end of it. I say: don't go there.

Thomas the Frickin' Tank Engine would probably make your head explode. You might survive a few episodes of Dragon Tales, which both my kids have adored at this age.

Shrek was a hit here, too. LG loved Schoolhouse Rock at Z's age. The Muppet Show, too. Reading Rainbow and Magic School Bus might be a bit of a stretch, but you know my kids love 'em.

I really recommend the storybook videos put out by Weston Woods. Classic picture books made into video using the original illustrations and words -- very well done. We've been able to get some of them through our library, and got one of the kids' favorites (Owl Moon/Strega Nona/Make Way for Ducklings/In the Night Kitchen) on eBay or something. They're so good you don't feel the slightest bit guilty about letting your kids watch TV.

Julia said...

Afraid it is so. In fact, we still have some of them earworms living deep in the caverns of our brains. Words "fruit salad" elicit nothing but "yummy-yummy" from us here. And don't even get me started on the big red car. Monkey loves head, shoulders, knees, and toes. That one has great educational value, though-- taught her english words for body parts. But mostly we did Old Country cartoons, which kick extreme ass, so I didn't feel bad about TV most of the time.

Ok, let me see about getting a DVD of wordless stuff together for you. I think my dad might have some on his hard drive already, and friends might have other ones I was thinking about.

Magpie said...

Lady & the Tramp. Bambi. Finding Nemo. Mary Poppins. Chicken Run. Babe. Milo & Otis. Totoro. Kiki's Delivery Service. The Wizard of Oz.

I could go on.

Early Disney. Old Bugs Bunny. The Marx Brothers.

Want more? I'd have to go downstairs and look at the pile.

Genevieve said...

At Z's age, our big hits were Singin' in the Rain, Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music.

I also highly recommended The Electric Company (unfortunately the DVDs came out when J. felt he was too old for them) and Schoolhouse Rock. And The Muppet Show.

The Rodgers and Hammerstein Cinderella (great songs), with Brandy doing a terrific job as Cinderella, Paolo Montalban as the Prince (I want that man to get some more romantic leading man roles), and including Bernadette Peters, Victor Garber, and Jason Alexander. And Whitney Houston (sigh) as the fairy godmother, but I can't begrudge it to her because it was her project and wouldn't have been made without her.

The Disney remake of Annie -- don't think of it as Disney, think of it as Rob Marshall, who choreographed and I think directed. He also did the above-mentioned Cinderella, and the recent Oscar-winning Chicago. Terrific job, and much less disappointing (and less frightening) than the poorly done Annie movie of my youth. This one has Victor Garber, my all-time favorite Audra McDonald, Kathy Bates, Alan Cummings, my other all-time favorite Kristin Chenoweth, and a really good little actress as Annie.

The Wizard of Oz. When she's a little older, beautifully done Alfonso Cuaron version of A Little Princess (the ending might be a little scary right now - it was for my niece at age 3 or 4, since they added Sara climbing on a plank from one roof to another and almost falling). This is one of the few movies where they change things from a beloved book and I still love it. Becky's part is much improved, for example, at least in my opinion.

Genevieve said...

And I very much like Charlie and Lola, a British cartoon based on books by Lauren Child. It's available on DVD if you don't want her watching it on TV.

S. said...

Wow, excellent!

We did rent the first disc of the Muppet Show last night. It was a great nostalgia-fest for me and A., but Z. cried when it was over, I think b/c there wasn't enough story for her to know that it was about to end. And also I think she was waiting for the Wallace and Gromit part to start.


(un)relaxeddad said...

Don't do the Wiggles. Not if you value your sanity. Dudelet has the Wiggles Christmas Special which features a bizarre guest experience from the once mighty John Fogerty.

Dudelet generally regards any kind of chopstick as a wand (which means there are always two or three unmatched chopsticks in the draw) and his favourite spell is "Ex Slugz". When hit with an Ex Slugz, you inevitably fall over and go "Aargh!" There is no escape.

Videos - anything from Pixar seems to work but (as anyone who reads my little corner regularly knows) Studio Ghibli are untouchable in my book. Z might like My Friend Totoro for starters - great for adults because of the beautifully rendered rural Japan of the 50s (it's last decade, I gather) and great for kids because it's such a magical story. Dudelet's favourite from the age of about 2 (he's now 3.5) was The Cat Returns, though Kiki's Delivery Service was also a hit.

S. said...

I love the spell--go dudelet!