For the first time in his young life, I’ve been able to really read with my son. It took a while to get him to the place where he wasn’t dreading the experience and I tend to give up after a chapter or two if he does, but then lockdown….
I’m kidding, it wasn’t lockdown that did it. Nor has it been Harry Potter in itself. We’ve had the first two illustrated editions for years and he was vaguely interested in them but didn’t have the patience. For as much as he is my son in so many ways, reading and eating have not been one of them until the last few months. I had started making dinner at home again just before the lockdown and he’s been eating everything. Just out of the blue we went from arguing with him about food all the time to him just eating it all, especially if I made it. He’s figured out to trust that if his father and I both like a food, there’s a good chance he’ll like it too. But like all kids, he takes FOREVER to finish his food.
Then I had an idea. It started with The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer that I had read some years ago. Rather than read to him at bed time, I started using that extra time to read to him at the dinner table. This stopped conversation that we usually have while eating so that he can keep shoveling it in rather than talking as much. I love talking to him, but he gets distracted and then we’re sitting there two hours.
Then it became a habit that even my husband enjoyed. When we finished The Wishing Spell, I asked what he wanted to read next and he brought me Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. So, here’s a confession and, yes I’ve already been admonished for it by my friends. I never read the Harry Potter books. Well, I read the last one because I walked out of the movie for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and needed to know how it ended. It was my one and only buddy read with my husband until now. I was just that little bit too old and not old enough when the books came out that I was too adult to read a children’s book for pleasure. I had just graduated high school and was making my way in the world and doing far too much studying to read anything at all. It was about six years before I read a book for pleasure after high school. At that point, I had some that I’d been saving up and the movies were coming out and it just got away from me.
And then my son brings me the first of the illustrated Harry Potter books to read to him at the table and my husband was so excited he has since joined us. It’s turned into our evening routine. Dinner and Harry Potter until bedtime, which gets pretty late depending on where we are in the story. With school out, there’s no good reason to not finish the book even though it’s after bedtime when we only have three chapters left….. or to go ahead and watch the movie afterward.
We’ve been reading the book and watching the movie which was cute for the first two and then surprising for the third and fourth. I had been under the impression that they all follow quite closely but realize now that I was mistaken. It has been fun, though, pointing out the differences. The detail in which the book goes about the whole Sirius Black/Peter Pettigrew dispute is incredible, even worse is all that background on Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs, especially Prongs. And then more chapters on the Quidditch World Cup than I expected too. Love the campaign for elf rights!
Anyway, I won’t presume to write a review, everyone who hasn’t read these books already knows why, like myself. I was mostly just waiting for him to be old enough to appreciate them. I’ve always loved reading and figured we’d read together. I had almost given up hope. Once we were halfway through the second one in the same week that we started the first, I went ahead and order the third and fourth.
I’d love to wait until Order of the Pheonix comes out in the illustrated version, but I don’t think it’s coming out any time soon and why wait to finish a wonderful series once we’ve started? Now I just have to decide whether to buy print or ebook. I’m leaning toward print. Yeah, I’m gonna do it. Sooooo…. he’s also interested in finishing The Land of Stories, which is exciting for me because I love that series too. I may end up with a little reader after all.
Of course, we’re reading to him still, but hey, at least he’s learning the joy of books. Thanks Chris Colfer and J. K. Rowling and taking forever to eat.