OldeTyme Locutions and Their Worries

On the reading-for-bedtime front, towards
the end of August (which in my mind is much closer than it is in
actuality), Chestnut and I started Anne of Green Gables. We'd finished
Caddie Woodlawn and a bunch of other olde-timey staunch-heroine-types
of books, and I just though…maybe?
As a child I was never interested in Anne of Green Gables,
though I (halfheartedly) tried. It was more the province of my older
sister, who went for what I thought of as the "good-girl" books: Little
Women, My Friend Flicka,  The Five Little Peppers.

When Diana read the Green Gables books (or are they the Anne books?)
when she was 6 or so, I gave them a try and was pleasantly surprised.
Anne is unusual and vivid, disobedient (if inadvertently), smart,
self-aware and ambitious—in a word, interesting.

But reading it to Chestnut seemed daunting. It was the sentences that
worried me, long, dry, winking sort of sentences, that regard Anne with
an amused affection but also spend much time being wryly amused at the small-town people, the grownups and their penchants for gossip, very much the voice of an older aunt or something,
and not just an older aunt but one with 19th-century-style locution.

So I tried it. And she loved it. She was grabbed in that perfect way, begging for another chapter before
bed, begging for another chapter the next morning. It was wonderful, it
was fun, it made both of us so happy (though the problem of alternate
parents reading at night makes the grownups a bit fuzzy on just what is
happening when you come back after having skipped two chapters).
We've been less careful about it since school started. Some nights she
reads her own books, some nights time gets away from us and we have to
go to bed without reading anything. I worry that this is partly me just
not having the energy to tackle that extra bit of complication after these long days of getting people to school
and then going to work and then back to school—it takes it out of you.
I don't want to forget this though, I don't want to let it get away—she
loved those crazy wry sentences, we'll have to get it together. We can
still do bedtime books, we can still do unfamiliar syntax, we're not
going to let it go just because the world is too much for us—right?

5 thoughts on “OldeTyme Locutions and Their Worries

  1. I love all of LM Montgomery books, but Anne has a special place in my heart. I wanted to be so much like her as a kid.
    Have you done Secret Garden and Little Princess yet? Those are my other two favorites from that genre of older novels…

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  2. Don’t be afraid of the sentences! That complex syntax and old fashioned style is one of the best things you can do for your daughter’s reading progress. Anne will not only entertain her, it will help her read better as well.
    I love older books. They expected more from our children. They are perfect for children who read beyond what current standards dictate is average for their age group. The reading level is harder but the interest level is still perfect for the child.
    BTW, the best Anne book is number 8. 😉

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  3. Brynna and I are reading the Worst Witch books right now. Which, I completely forgot about until the library did a little display for Halloween. I love these books! Anyway, not so much with the old timey locution as with the Brittish coloquialisms. I am loving it and Brynna is too.
    Hard work but so worth it!!

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  4. I re-read ANNE OF GREEN GABLES recently, and I was struck by the beauty of the descriptive language. When I was a child, that soared right over my head, but reading it now, I was delighted. I suggested it to my book club, especially those of us who read it before.
    (I will also confess that I cried like a baby all over again at the end of the book)

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