Two quick reports from my many hours spent on the sales floor this week, catering to many, many holiday shoppers:
1.) Yesterday a nine-year-old dissolved into tears when I told his mom that we were currently out of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and are eagerly awaiting the reprint’s arrival. His mom eventually calmed him down and convinced him to try reading something else in the meantime. Wow. Disappointment rolled off him in waves.
2.) Today a mom came in looking for a copy of The Invention of Hugo Cabret to give to her second grader (age eight) for Christmas. She said he’s normally a pretty reluctant reader but came home yesterday from the school library, excitedly talking about the book. He read for an hour last night — twice as long as the 30 minutes he’s "required" to read each day for his reading journal, and this morning he apparently woke up about 5:30 am to read some more, as he was already up and reading when his mom got up at 6.
When I asked what other books this kid really enjoyed she said he loves reading the Tashi books by Anna Fienberg (one of our bestselling series). This was intriguing, because the Tashi books are, reading-level-wise, complexity-wise, and maturity-wise, a big step down from Hugo Cabret. They are, in other words, right where most second and third graders tend to be reading. Like Hugo, the books do feature lots of illustrations, though, and wonderful touches of whimsy, but…? In the end I suggested that this kid try reading the first book in The Far Flung Adventures series by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. Also fantasy, also peppered with illustrations, it was the closest "middle ground" I could come up with between Tashi and Hugo, which isn’t saying much!
In the meantime this mother is going to suss out whether or not her son is really understanding the text of Hugo Cabret or is mostly just swept up by the pictures. Hopefully she’ll also sort out what it is he likes most about the story, so that we can figure out just what things are likely to keep him glued to the pages like this!
Do you have any book suggestions for reluctant readers who love Diary of a wimpy Kid? I always have a difficult time coming up with one, and I feel bad because I know the parents are excited their child is reading. Today I suggested Half Moon by Colfer.
Sounds like that kid was the IDEAL audience for that book.