First - before I get to Harry - I must report a couple of funny Beaver stories:
Beaver wanted me to play chess with him the other day, so I sat down, set up the chess board, and tried explaining to him how to move some of the pieces. "No, Mommy. I know how to play. If I get your king, then I win, and if you get my king, then you win." He proceeded to take one of his pawns and bonk my king on the crown with it. "Ha ha! I got your king!" From there, the game became some kind of mash-up of Pokemon battling with chess pieces. "Mommy, you get your guards in the air and use sandstorm attack." Beaver instructed me. So, I lifted my knights up and shouted, "Sandstorm attack! Go!" Beaver: "Ha ha! You can't stop us because we have eyelashes to get through your sandstorm!" Thank you, Diego.
Today was a holiday, so the neighborhood kids were all home from school. The boys and I were walking to a neighbor's house to return something and we passed several of Bear's schoolmates, along with one of Beaver's, playing in a friend's driveway. Bear immediately asked to go play, and I willingly let him go. There were no parents in sight, but he is old enough to play with minimal supervision. As Beaver and I continued on our way, Beaver asked, "Mommy, please can I go play, too?" And then, in a tone of dejected resignation he responded to his own question, "Or not. Because I am too little." Well, if he wanted to yank my heart strings, he sure did it. I would have done anything to let him play after that. I got a camping chair and the ipad and sat at the end of my neighbor's driveway so that my sweet Beaver could play with the kids, too.
Now, on to Harry.
Bear loves Harry Potter. At least, he loves the first three books. That is all he has read so far. Not because he doesn't want to read further, but because I have told him he is not allowed to read any further at this point. I haven't read past book 3 myself, but I know the books get darker as the series progresses. I don't think the books are bad. I just don't feel like I want to expose him to the death and violence that I know occur in the later books - not just yet. What I would really like to do is just have him read one each year from this point on, but I don't know if it will really be possible to hold him to that. One of the problems is that he has a good friend here - one year younger than him - who has read all of the books. That friend's mother tells me that she let her son read the books, but not watch the movies, because she feels that at his age, his imagination can only take the reading so far - it isn't the same as seeing it in a movie. I can see her point and I respect it, but I am still not convinced that I want to let Bear read more.
Tonight, Bear was once again pushing to be allowed to read book 4. I didn't give in, but I can't deny that I am second guessing myself. I came downstairs after getting him in bed and googled "Should I let my 9-year-old read Harry Potter?" As I was perusing the results, Bear called to me from the top of the stairs. "Mom, I can't fall asleep because I keep thinking about dementors." Hmmmm......maybe that is my answer right there.
Seriously, though. Does anyone out there have an opinion about this? I have kind of been thinking that when we go back to the US this summer, I will buy the set and read them myself and then decide. I don't really want to, though. I lost interest after the 3rd book. Probably because they do get darker, and dark books don't interest me. If anyone has read the series, let me know what you think about a 9-year-old reading it. Or give me some ideas for other books for him to read. The poor kid is so desperate, he checked out the 2nd and 3rd books from the school library and re-read them this week. We have the first one, and he has probably read it five times. It is times like this that I dearly miss having access to a public library.