Kidnapped! (Reading and Writing Tales of Woe)


What? You didn’t like the book?

The latest round of reading and writing with Primo has been … challenging.

If you remember from our post “The Same, But Different” we were struggling with getting Primo to read Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped. He didn’t like the abridged version, as it seemed “rushed”, but delving into the original text didn’t impress him either.

We struggled with whether to press on or just let him stop that project, and move onto something else. However, we were also interested in what, specifically, he did not like about the book, and why he could read and finish two or three other books at the same.

Trying to get him to articulate his thoughts has been as challenging, but we did finally get him to put it into words here, albeit short. I think I would have preferred more depth and detail in his report, but for the moment we will accept what we have and will discuss another strategy in a moment.

Reading his report, and discussing further, it appeared that pacing and dialogue (not dialect) were critical factors for both versions of the book. One observation that he made, but did not write down, was that the original was more “poetic” and the abridged version was “rushed.” But this was not central to his dislike of the book, as even the abridged version could be described as long-winded in some respects (but certainly not as bad as the fictitious S. Morgenstern 😉 ).

Over the last few months a trend has appeared: Primo does not like historical fiction (e.g., Carry On Mr. Bowditch, Johnny Tremain). Especially, he dislikes those stories involving characters of his own age, preferring stories with more fantastical adventure (the latest being The Prairie Thief). Perhaps it is difficult for him to relate to those fictional characters in the historic settings; after all, in our modern world most children simply don’t need to deal with the types of crises seen in historical literature.

Perhaps he prefers to read for pure escapism, where the scenes and situations are much further off. This is something to which I can relate, preferring science fiction and implausible mystery novels.

So, as we move forward from this chapter we will see what Primo does with his other book reports. In particular, however, I think we will “interview” him and transcribe a few of those chat-sessions into reports so he can see the transformation of his idea into written form.

Good luck with your reading and writing adventures!



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  1. Pingback: Book Report: Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson RocketRedNeck

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