"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Five on a Friday

Hope everyone had a great week! Our Cub Scout derby car is ALMOST complete! Look for a picture next week (after the big race this Saturday). So tomorrow I'll be finishing that up.
Wait. How much of the car is the cub scout supposed to do himself?


Here's my five for the week!

1) I'm organizing the 2nd grade Valentine's party tomorrow. Wish me luck leading the Valentine Bingo. B-I-N-G-O.
Not to mention I get to pick up the cupcakes. Do you think anyone will notice if I show up with only 23 instead of 24?

2) OK, maybe I'm naive, but I was just a tad bit shocked when my 5th grade neighbor told me she'd just finished up all four Twilight books. And she said a bunch of her friends had read them, too.
Ugh. Really? 5th grade? I guess I was under the misguided impression this would wait until middle school.
How young is too young for Twilight? Please do weigh in; I want to know!

3) If you haven't had a chance, head over to The Spectacle! Parker Peevyhouse, author of the upcoming Last Midnight (Disney-Hyperion), has a great post up about why teachers love dystopian fiction. And if that isn't reason enough, we're doing a book giveaway. Go enter! Free books!

4) Who knew the public library was closed on Thursdays? The empty parking lot should have been a clue, but I still pulled in and went to the door. And for the record, my house does have way too many distractions for anything that requires total uninterruption.

5) In a Valentine's Day sampler, my favorite is always the peanut cluster. Oh, but now I realize with this whole peanut thing and all, I will have to skip this one. If I had to pick a non-nut favorite, I'd go with the coconut chocolate cluster. I just like that texture.
And you? What's your favorite in the heart-shaped samplers this happy holiday is so well-known for?

Happy Friday! Happy Valentine's Day! Happy Weekend!


Sheryl said...

Wow I DO think 5th grade is too young to have read the whole Twilight series... eeesh. Love the story about the idea from your son. It sounds like a doozy.

Christina Farley said...

Hope your party went well. My parents ran my class party and they did fabulous. They had games, crafts and yummy food. Fun times and I didn't have to plan anything. Yeah!

I can see parents allowing kids to read Twilight. It's acutally pretty innocent compared even to some middle grades out there. I'm reading Lightning Theif right now and I was really surprised at some of the voilence and dark stuff in there.

So I guess todays 5th graders are reading what yesterdays 8th graders were.

Christine M said...

Regarding Twilight - I think it depends on the kid. Friends recommended it to my daughter when she was in 5th grade, but she wasn't particularly interested in starting it. She read it this year - sixth grade - and loved it. She's only read the first one so far.

Have fun with the class party. We have a four day weekend here - so are relaxing at home. The Valentine day stuff happened at school yesterday.

Your library is closed on Thursday? Wow! I never would have figured something like that.

Good luck with the pine box derby. That should be fun.

And regarding peanut candy - I think whole peanuts are not affected - so peanut clusters might be okay. Not sure - but worth checking into.

Have a great day.

Carrie Harris said...

I think peanut clusters are supposed to be safe. I sure hope so, because they're my favorite too!

As a mom, I think 5th grade is way too young for Twilight. But then I think back on some of the stuff I read when I was in 5th grade and have to reconsider. Either that, or be dreadfully hypocritical. :)

D.A. Riser said...

Personally, I'd say 5th grade is too young, but I've a friend whose 4th grade daughter has read them.

You need to post a pic of your derby car. I'd love to see it. I can't wait until my son gets old enough for Cub Scouts and can do the cars. I hear greasing the axle is the secret to success. Good luck racing!

Jill Douglass said...

I was reading Twilight type stuff when I was that age. I think girls that age are very interested in books about relationships. I think what is hard is admitting that our children are attracted to passion and, gulp, sexuality. The books are the perfect vehicle for beginning and continuing having 'relationship' talks with your girls.

lynn said...

Vanilla cremes :)

I'd have to agree with the comments that say book-age appropriateness depends on the kid. After all, I picked up my mom's romance novels in middle school (wow, those were eye-openers!).

Tabitha said...

Erm, fifth grade is waaaay to young for Twilight. I'd even say middle school is too young, since girls' minds are entirely too impressionable. Mine was, anyway. High school is really the youngest I'd go. Then again, I have issues with the Twilight books, so I might not be the right person to ask. :)

I discovered the closed library thing yesterday, too. Though I think it's because it was Lincoln's birthday, because they're usually open thursdays. Your library will probably be open next thursday.

Anonymous said...

In the Valentine's Day sampler, I love the chocolate with caramel or toffee! Gooey! Yummy! My dentist doesn't think so! Have a blast at the party today!

Tabitha said...

Okay, I have to qualify my earlier statement. I think fifth grade and middle school are too young UNLESS the parent also reads the books, then sits down and discusses some of the messages with the child. Left to her own devices, girls that age can easily get swept up in fairy tale expectations for high school, and the crash resulting from that isn't pretty...

PJ Hoover said...

I thought it was too young, also, Sheryl! And I'm excited to think in more depth about my son's story idea :)

Christina, how lucky you are your parents did the party!
I think I never thought of Twilight as MG though. I always thought of it as YA. But yeah, I guess kids keep getting more mature :(

So you think my peanut clusters are safe, Chris? Hope so. Sixth grade seems OK for me for Twilight. I just thought a bit of innocence should be preserved in 5th.

Two votes for safe peanut clusters, Carrie! Yay! 5th grade I was still way in the innocence zone as far as reading went. Are you There God it's me Margaret was as intense as I went. Now middle school I'll totally share with you that hypocrisy.

PJ Hoover said...

4th grade! Ack, D.A.! No way. Please say it isn't so. And I'll totally post a picture of the derby car. After this much work, I must show it off nationwide :)

Totally agree, Jill, about the books being a great vehicle. I think (unfortunately) in many cases (such as the kid I talked to) the parents haven't read these books also. So the kids can't really discuss books specific issues.

Yummy, Lynn! I can see kid specific, but it just still seems so young. I wish they'd at least wait until middle school.

I was way too impressionable at that age, Tabitha. But yeah, if it was a mom/daughter read and my daughter really wanted to read it, then maybe. Still. I just rips away the innocence. Ugh.

Those are my husband's favorites, too, Carmen. And I admit I do like the toffee more and more.

Thanks for visiting, everyone!

adrienne said...

Fifth grade seems a little young for Twilight, but that's a difficult age to find appropriate reading - they outgrow alot of MG but are too young for YA. I was glad to hear talk of splitting the YA category into two levels.

Patty P said...

Re: Twilight. I know what you mean. My 11 year-old neighbor just finished the series and I'm thinking, "wow, yesterday she was reading Nancy Drew."
My child's elementary school district put an unofficial ban on the Twilight books. They don't stock them in the library and teachers don't encourage the series.
Book one isn't so bad, but book four has questionable subject matter. But if a kid reads it and enjoys it, I don't have a problem with it.

PJ Hoover said...

I agree, Adrienne, a split in YA would help sort out more issues, especially for those parents who don't want to read the books also.

Funny, Patty, on the Nancy Drew yesterday, Twilight today. I guess when something is that popular, it's just hard to avoid.
I just have issues with 5th grade girls reading about Bella trying to convince (begging) Edward to have sex with her.


Lapillus said...

Hmmm... Kids definitely seem to be maturing faster these days.

I think 7th grade is the lowest I'd allow (having read them.) But, I agree with some of the other comments - it really might depend on the kid and their maturity.

Honestly though, I can see a lot of parents (who aren't into reading) being impressed that their 4th or 5th grader wants to even read a book / series that big and let them. Especially since a lot of people don't understand what "young adult" covers. You also have the "all my friends are reading them," argument, which might make parents think they are age appropriate.


Some parents let their kids find their own way, too. My best friend's parents were like that. They were very, very lax about rules and age appropriateness unless it was a known danger. Strangely, she actually matured later than the rest of my friends.

As for chocolate. I don't like nuts or coconut or much of anything in my chocolate, heh. I LOVE chocolate with caramel though!

lotusgirl said...

I think 5th is too young for Twilight. The first one isn't so bad, but the later ones get iffy for the very young. Even Stephenie Meyer wanted to put the age limit of 15 on her 4th one. They didn't do it though.

PJ Hoover said...

I guess it's very kid-dependent, Casey. And I can totally see parents being impressed with the length of books their kids read and wanting them to read such a big series.

Yes, Lois, they get increasingly into more complex issues. And even the fifth grader said the birth part was a bit yucky.

I guess it can't be stopped, though. Reality is reality.

Angela said...

Oh those chocolates look good.

Grade 5 reading Twilight? Ugh. A whole generation of girls thinking they should grow up to be passive...

Lauren said...

That's weird that the library is closed on Thursdays.

5th grade is way too young to read Twilight. There are some definite too-old themes in that.

Peanut clusters are my favorite too.

Lady Glamis said...

Twilight in FIFTH grade??? That doesn't surprise me, but it's still wrong. I think anybody younger than 16 shouldn't be reading those books. Especially the last one with the whole honeymoon thing. Ugh. (and UGH is straight of all the books. She uses that word too much).

My favorite is ANY of the nut clusters, including coconut. And I like all those chocolate DARK. :)

PJ Hoover said...

Exactly, Angela. Girls that age (kids that age) are so impressionable. But I guess Bella is better than some fairy tales.

Totally, Lauren! The books do have themes that it would be so much nicer if they could wait until they were older.
yummy on the peanut clusters, and thanks for visiting!

it does seem wrong, Michelle (see I got your name that time!). But maybe unavoidable.
And I'm liking dark chocolate more and more these days.

Thanks for visiting, everyone!

Laura said...

Hope you had a wonderful class-party for Valentine's Day:) Did they miss that cupcake?

Happy Valentine's Day to you:)

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Laura! I refrained, but there were a few extras left over at the end :)
Have a great weekend!

Keri Mikulski said...

Caramels.. ;)

Hope you enjoyed the party. :) Like the BINGO idea.

Happy Valentines Day!

Sheri said...

Hey PJ! On the Twilight thing... My 6th grader (middle school) BEGGED me to read it this summer. And I mean BEGGED ME. The deal was I had to read the books ahead and decide which ones were appropriate. But then my thinking quickly became: this child does not like to read. If she is begging me to read... what's wrong with me! Let her read! So I did. She has been stuck on the boring section of book 2 for months. She is finally over that hump though and back to enjoying it. All of her friends have read it. I was shocked too. It's written about a 17 - 19 year old, as you know which means it was originally geared for 15 and up. But not 12 year olds...

Also, my 4th grader, being that she sees her sister reading these books has begged me to read them. I told her she can read the first book because nothing more than kissing happens in that book but she is not allowed to read any of the others until she's in middle school. Stick to Harry! Turns out, all the kissing became too much for her. She put the book back up on the shelf and began Harry 5. Sometimes making a bigger deal out of things isn't necessary. If a kid isn't ready to read about kissing and desire, they will not want to continue the book.

OH! And have that peanut cluster. It's peanut butter, not peanuts that were recalled. And even the peanut butter - was not the small jars but the large vats sold to nursing homes and other companies that use peanut butter as an ingredient, for instance peanut butter cookies.

Jim Danielson said...

You mean your son didn't build his car by himself??? Reality from our Cub Scout days: My son's did a little more on their cars themselves each year -- they did best (place wise) the first year -- I think 2nd and 3rd or 4th. I'm guessing they enjoyed the experience more as time went on.

PJ Hoover said...

Thanks, Keri! The party was fun! Musical chairs turned out to be the hit of the whole thing!

Thanks for your insight, Sheri! I know what you mean, but it still just seems so hard to give in. Where did innocence go?
Yeah, if my husband brings me something with peanut clusters, I'm pretty sure I'll give in :)

Well, Jim, I was tempted to let him build it himself, but I was afraid of him using the jigsaw, router, rotary tool, and sander. And I wanted precision on the paint.
That said, once I finished painting it, he thought it was way cool!

Happy weekend!

Nora MacFarlane said...

I can't tell you how many of my 5th and 6th grade parents have asked me about Twilight. I give them detailed information, and graphic details about the 4th book, but their daughters AND son's still read the books. One of my 6th graders is now reading The Host as well. As for my 5th grader, she won't read Twilight for a looooong time!

PJ Hoover said...

Nora, isn't The Host adult? I only just started it, so I can't comment on it. But I figured it was classified as adult for a reason.

The too bad thing is that there is really a ton of age appropriate stuff out there!

Devon Ellington said...

Buy 25 cupcakes, and you'll be safe.

I was never forbidden to read anything -- I read HAMLET and MACBETH when I was eight. However, my parents always knew what I read, and we always discussed it. IE, they told me what they disagreed with and why. But nothing was ever forbidden. I was reading adult-themed books very early -- but it was supervised and discussed.

I'd read EVERYTHING in the children's section of the library by third grade and was bored.

I haven't read TWILIGHT, so I don't know. I have no interest in reading it, either. Glad the writer's got something that's so popular, but the flap copy just didn't grab me, and the movie trailer's got so much awful acting in it that it turned me off to the franchise even more.

Hope the party went well. It really sucks, not being able to enjoy peanuts and chocolate. I think Congress should have followed through, when they asked the CEO to eat the peanut butter he okayed, even though he knew it was tainted!

Kimberly Derting said...

Wow, you really opened a can of worms with the Twilight thing, didn't you? Great post, as usual! I agree with the folks that thought it depended on the kids, I guess. Since it was mild in actual content, I would be okay if the 5th grader was pretty mature, as long as they realize that it's really just fantasy (the romance part too).

I liked all the weigh in, though. I thought everyone gave great reasons for their opinions!!!

PJ Hoover said...

I think the main thing that bothers me, Devon, is so much of it is unsupervised. We all live in this writing bubble, but the vast majority of parents have not read these books, I think.
And totally agree on the CEO :)

There are some great opinions, aren't there, Kim! the biggest thing with the Twilight books is they are EVERYWHERE and it's not just the mature kids reading them.

Thanks for visiting, and happy weekend!

C.R. Evers said...

I haven't read Twilight, so I don't know about content, but usually I would say that if a kid likes a book and it gets them excited about reading . . . then it may not be too young. But then again. . . like I said . . . I haven't read Twilight, so I can't really say for sure on that particular book.

HOpe your party went well!


PJ Hoover said...

LOL, Christy! Do you remember the VC Andrews books? I was excited about reading those :)
The party was fun! Musical chairs saved the day!

Lenore said...

Remember sweet Eleanor who reviewed The Emerald Tablet on my blog? She's in 5th grade and now she and all her friends are reading Twilight and saying how immature Harry Potter is...

Stacy Nyikos said...

My oldest is in 4th grade and listened to part of the audio of the first Twilight book. Both she and my 7 year old would LOVE to see the movie. I'm not ready for that or for them to read any of the other books. The first is pretty laden with sexual tension, and I've been told the other three are even more so. They aren't too happy with me, but not too upset either. And hey, this way they have something to look forward to. I feel like I'm behind the times, though. What happened to reading "The Borrowers" or Roald Dahl? Am I so ancient in thought??

Vivian said...

As always, great conversation! I'm relieved to hear people's responses about Twilight. One of my 4th grade daughter's friends is reading the book. The mom and I were talking about the book, and I mentioned what the book was about, and she didn't seem too concerned.

Yes, this book is fairly clean compared to other books and a 4th grader probably wouldn't understand a lot of the book, thinking of it more as badge of honor reading a thick book.

But, I don't think it's appropriate for this age group. It's bad enough kids have a warped sense of romance via all the Cinderella stories out there, but for even one 4th/5th grader to believe the "I'd do anything for you, even die for you so I'll live forever with you" thing is real, would be devastating.

Hope the Valentine's Day party was fun!

Vivian said...

But, I don't think it's appropriate for this age group. It's bad enough kids have a warped sense of romance via all the Cinderella stories out there, but for even one 4th/5th grader to believe the "I'd do anything for you, even die for you so I'll live forever with you" thing is real, would be devastating.


I should add that I wrote that because this book sucks the reader (who is of the mindset) in to want to be the characters, and since young kids are so impressionable, they may think it's real.

Marcia said...

I don't think 5th graders reading TWILIGHT is any surprise at all. Of course they are. Are they too young? Sure, but the books are there, the hype is there, and they'll get them. I think the readership "boundaries" are really fuzzy at that tween level. I'm a little shaken by "Harry Potter is immature" though. Also, in some districts 5th grade IS middle school. (As for HP, even JKR didn't think 6-year-olds should read/hear the stories, but they did. We can probably assume most books will reach several years younger than we expect.)

Favorite chocolates in the box? Caramel, caramel, caramel.

PJ Hoover said...

Not sweet Eleanor, Lenore!!!!! Say it isn't so. I guess she has to grow up. But still so sad :)

You and I are both ancient in thought, Stacy. Having a movie tie-in is so huge, but even brings more appeal to reading the book.

Totally, Vivian! The books do suck in the reader to wanting to be the characters. This is so powerful in them, but also so scary for really young kids.

Harry Potters do get pretty dark, don't they, Marcia. And I guess I totally accept the fact that the younger kids are reading these. Maybe it's just the girl and romance thing with Twilight.

Thanks so much everyone!