Ever since I discovered I was pregnant, a few years go, some dreams I never knew I had came forward in my mind: the child (a still gender-neutral concept at that time) and me at bedtime reading stories, the child and me perusing books in colorful kid sections of libraries and bookshops… Some people dream of taking their future child to Disneyland, I dreamt of a shopping trip together to W.H.Smith at Concorde.
Some dreams were more detailed, and perhaps every book-inclined parent has the same: a kind of list of books we would read to him. I’m not sure what books Mr. Smithereens has in mind, but I was early on sure of a few titles. One day I would try to read Baby Smithereens Tolkien’s Hobbit, because my father had read it aloud to me at bedtime when I was in primary school (even though I could read, I was too young to be able to concentrate on big adult books). And perhaps The Lord of the Ring as well, unless Baby Smithereens would prefer reading it himself.
And Harry Potter too. Hearing about other mothers who happily shared a passion for Potter with their offsprings, I thought that we would read the Harry Potter books together, even though I never read it myself. Yes, I ‘fess up: except for the movies (and not all of them), I’m still a kind-of Harry Potter virgin.
Fast forward 2-3 years, my dreams remain. Baby Smithereens loves books, has never tried to tear pages off (even if he did try to taste paper when little) and whenever his monthly magazine arrives in the post, he’s overjoyed. He’s still way too young for The Hobbit, his heroes are Elmo, Noddy and the likes. But the interest in books is already there.
Yet, I’m getting itchy on the Harry Potter question, especially when I (can’t help but) watch the images of the latest HP movie. They seem so dark, violent, and adult (the movie is rated PG, after all). Is that really something I want to read to or with him? How long should we wait? At what age is it better to start the saga and how soon should we move from one episode to the next? Wouldn’t it be better if I read it all first, so that I would be a better judge of when Smithereens Junior will be able to enjoy it?
I’m looking forward to hearing advice from parents, Harry Potter readers, or both! (and I sure wanted to experiment with the poll gizmo as well ;)!)