I was checking Facebook today and noted a thread about the Newbery winners, which seemed to evolve into a brief discussion of Kate DiCamillo (I say seemed because my teething 18-month-old may or may not have been climbing on me at the time, which makes for some very quick skimming before he gets hold of the mouse). I deemed it bad form to jump in and disagree with people I didn’t know at all, but argumentative thoughts rarely just leave my head because they seem inappropriate to express, and then I thought–wait! I’ve started a blog! A blog is all about MY thoughts, right? It can’t possibly be inappropriate to voice those thoughts here! So here goes…
To the Random Person who dismissed “Tale of Despereaux” as a lightweight compared to other Newberys–you’re wrong. Ok, well, I THINK you’re wrong. I didn’t necessarily love the book, mind you…I came away from it with the sense that my ambivalent feelings about soup in general made it impossible to fully appreciate the story. (Which should make sense to you if you’ve read it.) Even not loving it, however, I could appreciate what it had to say about how we view ourselves and how that affects our actions and who we become. It was a strange fable, yes, but I could feel the power of it. As for the person (possibly the same person, but I’m not sure–again with the 18-month-old) who was peeved that Edward Tulane got passed over for a Newbery, yeah, well, I didn’t love Edward Tulane. I wanted it to be another truly meaningful fable, and IT wanted to be another truly meaningful fable, but it left me kind of flat. “Because of Winn-Dixie (see below),” on the other hand…yes, Random Person, the Newbery powers that be like Kate DiCamillo, but how can you NOT love “Because of Winn-Dixie”? It’s short, it’s heartfelt, it takes its heroine on a journey that brings her a little closer to happiness (and adulthood)…if only all first novels were so beautifully poignant!
I realize, of course, that what this boils down to is the age-old “How can you not love the books that I love? And how can you possibly love THOSE books instead?” Feel free to disagree with me. I’m going to hope, though, that when Flora and Ulysses comes in at the library, that I love it like Winn-Dixie, or at least appreciate it like Despereaux, and that it reminds me not much at all of Edward Tulane.
Speaking of hopeful expectations, the Tooth Fairy will be visiting my house tonight, and my older daughter wants to know what the Tooth Fairy’s name is. Since I didn’t know, she asked her in the note that accompanied the tooth. The note was, in turn, accompanied by an endearing little poem (free verse), and my earnest-eyed 7-year-old is probably dreaming even now of what her answer will be. And I? I am left with a lump in my throat as I contemplate with gratitude the magic of being part of my daughter’s childhood.
Stay tuned for the Tooth Fairy’s name.