An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Summer Reading for Boys: Poison, Scurvy, Murder, Oh My!

This summer Timothy has the lofty goal of reading a book a week.

Actually, I made that goal because, well, I'm the mom. End of discussion.

Now, some of you have kids that are readers and are probably thinking: That's it? One teeny, weeny book a week? Believe me, I understand. I used to be that kid who read a book every two days, so the fact that Timothy inherited some weird, errant gene in which he equates reading to torture is foreign to me. I mean, who doesn't like to read? (Secretly, I'm pretty sure Joe is responsible for that weird, errant gene, but since he is solely responsible for all the Math genes the boys have inherited, I don't complain too much.)

So, a book a week -- and National Geographic magazines, World Record books, Lego instruction manuals, and multi-page instruction books for a four-cylinder engine do not count.

Yesterday was Timothy's first official day of summer vacation, and I knew that Book 1 for week1 had to be a perfect book to get Timothy excited about reading; in other words, I couldn't start with Tolstoy, for example. (Besides, Tolstoy is scheduled for Week #2.)

JUST KIDDING about Tolstoy. Sheesh.

Now before you start thinking I'm a horrible mom, let me show you how cool I can be (with the help of my sister who gave me the suggestion). Here is Timothy's first book:

How they Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous

Over the course of history, men and women have lived and died. Whether someone had a lung explode, was stabbed to death, or croaked from a really bad sore throat, getting sick and dying tended to be a big, ugly mess -- especially before modern medical care. These pages contain all the gory details of the awful ends of nineteen awfully famous people.

Last night he read of the untimely deaths of King Tut (malaria), Julius Caesar (murder), and Cleopatra (suicide). And who knew one can learn so much history just by studying how someone died! With King Tut, Timothy learned about pharaohs, the science of mummification, and Howard Carter; the chapter on Julius Caesar taught him about the Ides of March, "et tu Brute", and the betrayal of 60 Roman Senators; and with Cleopatra he read how her death was like an ancient re-telling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

And the book is funny. Before falling in love with Marc Anthony, Cleopatra and Julius Caesar had a son -- Little Caesar. Do you know how funny that is for a boy? Right now he's reading about Christopher Columbus and he just finished telling me how sailors pooped on ships and what they used for toilet paper.

Blood, murder, poop = Little Boy Heaven.

I am well aware that  Little Women it's not, but after finishing the first chapter of How they Croaked Timothy continued to the next one without any prompting from me which, let me tell you, is progress.

And last night I actually had to tell him to put the book down because it was time for bed.

Again, progress.

Next week: The Outsiders
"Stay gold, Ponyboy."

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