I recently sat down with my daughter to have her read me a story, and I can honestly, without reservation, recommend this experience to all my friends and readers. However, I can’t vouch for your satisfaction if it’s actually my daughter reading the story. You may need to get your own. I’m quite sure this review would’ve went down a lot differently if it was just some random kid reading the story. I generally don’t like children. The younger ones aren’t very fluent and the literary content is rarely engaging. But with my daughter? Hearing her read is like some surreal dream where reality and fantasy embrace and silver snow falls on cartoon forests and there are whole worlds in the eye of the pensive crow. It’s really cool.
She read something about a castle, and I was gone, walking around the castle searching for the dungeon because the Evil King had imprisoned a bunch of hobbits and a princess for whom I was the only hope. When I found it, after I killed about 35 security guards with my bare hands and a ballpoint pen, the dungeon was protected by a bunch of those randomly shot red laser beam trip wires. Oh no. What could I do? I’ll tell you what I did: a bunch of crazy ninja shit that defied physics and moved faster than your eyeballs could register.
Then my daughter asked me if I was listening. She has huge blue eyes.
I tried to listen but found myself listening to the way her voice sounded rather than what it said. She’s eight. Her voice is still so high and innocent, and she’s mastering the art of inflection. How did that happen? How did this screaming wailing girl child suddenly learn how to couch the pitch and tone of her voice so properly inside the rules of punctuation? She pauses at commas, exclaims at exclamation points, and question marks provoke her subtle wondering sing song. I watched her mouth and began to wonder vaster things. How does the tongue, throat, and lips (all physical entities) combine to produce something so intangible and impossible as a voice? How do our eyes convert these arbitrary black symbols (like you’re doing now) into words and then spoken words and then, finally, primarily, into meaning?
She asked if I was listening. Her hair is long and fairy tale gold.
She read something about a witch, and I studied the intensity of her face, trying to fathom the duplicity of operations pulling on my little girl. She was there, in the bookstore, reading the words off the page. But then, together, as I listened, a whiteness (see photo above) descended, getting brighter and brighter until it outshined our physical surroundings and revealed the imaginary world where the story took place. The witch wasn’t a witch. She was an angel. Witches are always angels just waiting for a kiss.
So, again, listening to my daughter read (as opposed to some other kid) was a totally positive experience that I recommend to others (provided they use their own daughters). There’s a lot of surprise and wonder and the sense that you’re helping lead them into literacy and castles.
4 out of 4 stars.
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