psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (Default)
[personal profile] psocoptera
The Girl Who Drank The Moon, Kelly Barnhill, 2017 Newbery. A fairy tale type fantasy that's mythic at its best, uncompelling at its worst - "plotless" would be the wrong word, there's a pretty satisfying core story, but there's not a lot of action, and particularly not of the rising action/falling action sort. The story sets itself up, and then about where I started to expect some kind of breakout that would catapult us into a more urgent, immediate storytelling mode, just kept right on unfolding in a sort of methodical, sometimes repetitive way, until eventually all the pieces came together in the sort of "Janet? Brad! Janet? Dr. Scott!" climax that I'm not even considering a spoiler, because, look, this is middle grade, Romeo's not passing the messenger on the road back from Mantua here. There are some good strands of the plot web meanwhile, though; this is probably the best take on the mother-whose-child-is-taken fairy tale trope I've ever seen, with a mother who refuses to vanish quietly out of the story. And I feel like the characters and metaphors in general might have more power for actual older-middle-grade readers, who might also have fewer expectations about pace and tone? Or maybe not. I wonder if it might actually be the right amount of story for a movie - maybe a bit too much backstory, but it would be gorgeous in, like, a Miyazaki adaptation (and already in the right tone, you wouldn't need a dubious tonal shift like the Howl's Moving Castle adaptation, this is right along the emotional lines of Spirited Away. Oh, man, now that this has occurred to me my brain is redrawing my vague mental pictures of all the characters into anime designs and it's *perfect*.)

Date: 2017-05-09 01:31 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] glynhogen
We started this one with Kaia a few months ago. She seemed a bit freaked out by the initial setup, despite assurances that it would be okay, so we tabled it for a while. I'm now trying to decide how long "a while" should ultimately be, because she does get bored (we've never made it more than three pages into Dragon of the Lost Sea, a touchstone of my childhood, on those grounds) but on the other hand if "methodical" means "not terribly scary because no immediate peril"...? Then again, we stopped Chamber of Secrets right after Harry heard a voice saying threatening things.

Date: 2017-05-09 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] glynhogen
That's good to know. And I guess in general I need to start moving things from the I'm-sure-it'll-be-fine list to maybe-I-should-preread-this-especially-if-it's-above-her-reading-level.

Date: 2017-05-09 05:06 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] glynhogen
One of my problems is that I read a lot of advanced-for-my-age stuff and it was all fine (I was far more likely to be traumatized by scary imagery than weighty themes, which made wandering around in video stores fraught). I need to calibrate myself for Kaia not being ready/inclined to handle it, rather than just in need of momentary reassurance. Which...I think I've recalibrated, but I've thought that before, so I think I just need to keep reminding myself.

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psocoptera

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