Don’t Read Moby-Dick!

25 Mar

It’s not a secret that I enjoy reading children’s versions of our classic novels.  I borrow them from the library, bring them home from thrift stores, and blog about them.

My children know that their mama reads and blogs, but they haven’t expressed much interest in reading the adaptations I find.  Until now.

Folks, I know the secret to getting children to read the classics.

Discourage it!

Here’s how it went down at our house.  My Great Illustrated Classics Moby-Dick was sitting by the computer.

Child number 1 asks, “What’s this?”
Me: “It’s for the blog.  Please leave it alone.”
Child 1: “For the blog?”   (This child wants her own blog and did read a children’s version of Pilgrim’s Progress.)
Me: “Yes. I need it to write a post, so don’t bother it.”

I leave the room, come back, and find child 1 curled up reading the book.

Me: “Are you reading my book?  Please don’t read that book.  I need it for the blog.  You’ll finish it so quickly, and I’m not even on the Pequod.  My book has 527 pages!  You don’t want to read Moby-Dick.  Let’s go for a walk.  I’m going for a walk.  Want to come?”
child 1: continues reading
Me: “Alright.  Fine.  You can stay home, but don’t read too fast.  Please!”

I return from my walk.  Child 1 has finished the book.  In an hour.

Child 1 suggested that when I do get to the last few chapters of MD, I may want to read it in the bathroom because there’s a lot of boat rocking and she’s worried I’ll get motion-sick.  How thoughtful.

I threw a fit and celebrated at the same time.
My child read an adaptation of Moby-Dick!  She read a classic!  Granted a shorter version of the classic, but a classic!  Hooray!  And she finished before I did!  Whaaahhhhh!

So what did child 1 do then?  She gave the book to child 2 who ran upstairs with it, ignoring my protests of “No! No! I need to be the next one to finish Moby-Dick!”  The next morning child 2 showed me that he had twenty pages left to read.  I demanded he hand over the book.  He laughed and spent the rest of breakfast whispering to his sister about different parts of the book.

Child 2 packed the Illustrated Classics version in his backpack and took it to school to finish.  Child 1 snagged my spare copy of Moby-Dick to take with her.  The unabbridged novel is worth 44 Accelerated Reader points, and she might have some spare time to read during achievement tests this week.

I’m miffed and pleased all at once.

Moby-Dick: a pop-up book

At least I’m safe from child 3 finishing Moby-Dick before me.
Until this library hold comes in…


Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Moby-Dick


Tags: , ,

7 responses to “Don’t Read Moby-Dick!

  1. AJJenner

    March 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I need to read Moby Dick for my book list challenge, but I’ve heard that the complete unabridged version is really hard to get through. Which of the children’s, or abridged versions would you recommend for me to read as a cheat? Many thanks. A

    • Christine

      March 25, 2012 at 6:46 pm

      Well, I haven’t read any of the abridged versions. My eleven-year old read the Great Illustrated Classics version and the Classic Starts version. She thought the Great Illustrated Classics was closer to the original. But! She’s only 43 chapters into the unabridged Moby-Dick.

      I’m 51 chapters in to The Whale and not finding it too terrible to read. In fact, It’s been enjoyable. There are lots of funny parts in the first 30 or so chapters. After you meet Ahab, things turn serious. Some chapters I’ve sped through because they do nothing to advance the plot.

      Best Wishes with Moby-Dick!


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