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Hobbit Versus Harry: Who Will Triumph?

April 20th, 2012  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  9 Comments

So JP’s reading, as I’ve noted here before, continues to improve as he approaches six years old. This leads to interesting opportunities, not just for his own reading, but for what I might choose to read to him.

One of my fondest memories from childhood was my father reading The Hobbit to me and my brother, Jason. As with my first marriage, my parents split when I was quite young. I lived with my mother and would see my father on weekends, when he would pick us up from my mother’s house in Jamaica, Queens, and take us into Manhattan to his apartment in the West Village. That’s where much of the reading would take place, on that lengthy subway ride, my father declaiming passages in a loud voice. Interestingly, the other passangers on the subway would get drawn in to the story, and soon, my father was telling a subway bedtime story to a carload of pissed-off, potentially homicidal, 1970s New Yorkers.

I doubt that JP will have the same experience, as I tend to do most of my reading to him at home. But I do have a decision to make: Do I try to recreate an experience from my childhood—The Hobbit—or do I accept reality and read him something he is familiar with and that he’d probably like better—Harry Potter?



  1. kelly says:

    April 20th, 2012at 8:47 am(#)

    read both. but he is a little young for those once they taste the harry potter and tolkien, they never go back..and really impossible to top.

  2. dadwagon says:

    April 20th, 2012at 10:13 am(#)

    Kelly–good point. Next stop: War and Peace!–theodore.

  3. Anthony says:

    April 20th, 2012at 10:22 am(#)

    Having just re-read it myself (in anticipation of reading it to my kids), I say go with The Hobbit. There’s some very, very English bits to it, but it’s a great read.

  4. kelly says:

    April 20th, 2012at 11:14 am(#)

    we gave my six year old Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Roald Dahl first. Dohl is pretty twisted though, and that’s why we like it! I have 2 boys and both said NO to Little House series..so I read Little House in the Big Woods aloud..they were hooked! Wolves, bears, killing..Oh,my!

  5. dadwagon says:

    April 20th, 2012at 11:25 am(#)

    Kelly–I love Roald Dahl, and not just the kid stuff! His grown up books are fantastic (not that I woud read them to my kids). Dahl, thanks for the reminder!–theodore.

  6. Ethan says:

    April 20th, 2012at 11:35 am(#)

    Harry Potter – Just finished the first book with my 6yo daughter (4yo son falls asleep every evening while I read – I try not to take it personally). Half way through the book she declared herself the Harry Potter’s 46th biggest fan. By the time we started the second book this week she’s determined she is likely the #1 fan now. She is a voracious reader from a ridiculously young age, and this has been one of her absolute favorites. I like to think it is in part because it’s the first chapter book Dad has read aloud to her, but I think I give myself too much credit.

  7. dadwagon says:

    April 20th, 2012at 1:45 pm(#)

    Ethan–“take it personally” when she falls asleep!?!?! Good god, man, isn’t that the whole point? –theodore.

  8. Jason says:

    April 20th, 2012at 8:40 pm(#)

    The Hobbit. Too many kids think that Rowling invented everything in the Potter books. That ain’t right. (Gandalf>Dumbledore)

  9. Mom says:

    April 21st, 2012at 10:42 pm(#)

    Impossible to read a wrong book. Read em all. Don’t forget the lion the witch and the wardrobe and the iz books and the wind in the willows and charlottes web and…and…..and….

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