This may be a violation of protocol, but my kid has reviewed my book. Or, more specifically, my kid used my book – or at least an advanced copy of my book – for her required Reader’s Response journal. The way the Reader’s Response Journal works is that each child is expected to read for 15-20 minutes every day, and then write one or two sentences in response to any from a list of questions.
(Actually, this is my favorite so far of all of the teacher-created we-want-the-kids-to-read-every-day-and-show-that-they’re-reading strategies. In past years, the kids had to keep logs showing how many pages they read each day and for how long. I can see how that would be useful for the children who are reluctant readers (setting goals, showing progress, etc.) but for those of us who have voracious readers, it sucks. If you have a kid who reads all the time, at different times of the day, it’s actually a HUGE pain in the butt to keep a record of it.)
But, I digress.
My eight-year-old decided to use my book for her reading.
“Are you even allowed to use your mother’s book?” I asked.
Cordelia shrugged. “Why not? It’s not mentioned in the rules.”
She had a point. Still, I persisted. “But it’s not even official. It’s not a real book yet.”
“It’s a real book if the reviewer says it’s a real book. I’m the reviewer. Now, if you’ll excuse me…” and she went off to read.
So here are some of the questions and her responses. (Warning: Possible spoilers. Also, possible cuteness.)
In response to the question: Why did you choose this book? Cordelia wrote: “I chose this book because my mom wrote it. Also because the cover is cool. But mostly because my mom wrote it.”
In response to the question: Who is your favorite character? Cordelia wrote: “My favorite character is Wendy because she is so tough and determined. I am also tough and determined. That is why I like Wendy.”
In response to the question: What are your predictions? Cordelia wrote: “I predict that Mr. Avery will stop being so bad and will turn good. Or, he will turn badder.”
In response to the question: What surprised you? Cordelia wrote: “It surprised me that Wendy was sitting in a chair, and that it was a chair and a hand AT THE SAME TIME!!!”
In response to the question: What was a funny part of the book? Cordelia wrote: “I thought it was funny that Clayton has tests that prove he really does get less smarter every year.”
In response to the question: What do you find interesting in this book? Cordelia wrote: “I find it interesting that the voices in the dark think it’s interesting that humans can bleed. What else would they do?”
Another prediction: “I predict that Jack and Anders will save Wendy from the bad lady. Or, that the bad lady will win. Or that Wendy won’t need to be saved and will save Jack and Anders instead. I can’t really tell yet.”
That’s my girl! Even-handed, open-minded and beautifully literal. And honestly, I might be done reading reviews. I hope to get some, obviously, but I think it would be better for me if I pretend that they’re written in a language I don’t know, or that they’re about a book I’ve never heard of. Because I can see myself obsessing. I’m an obsessor.
Cordelia! Thank you for your kind attention to my story! I think you might have a future in book reviewing.