Early this year I began reading The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, to the boys. They loved the adventures of Bilbo Baggins as he, along with a band of dwarves, heroically fought and defeated the dragon Smaug on the Lonely Mountain. Having once taken my boys to the land of Middle-earth, our obvious next read-aloud would be Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy.
We spent all spring and summer journeying with Frodo and Sam, Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, Gandalf and the rest, as their once intact fellowship, became broken and spread out, but nonetheless persevered as with one heart to defeat the evil Lord Sauron of the dark land of Mordor.
The boys enjoyed each book, but their enthusiasm to listen to the tale each evening was further bolstered by the fact that they knew they would be allowed to watch Peter Jackson's film version of LOTR only after we had finished reading it.
And so, having finished Return of the King about the time the new school year started a couple of months ago, they have watched the movies several times. Each Sunday they have their choice as to what they will watch for their 'Sunday Night Movie', something they look forward to all week. Perhaps needless to say, any of the three movies in the LOTR trilogy have received top billing for some weeks now. But that's okay; I don't mind knocking Star Wars out of first place for a while!
Just a few nights ago we started Heidi, by Johanna Spyri. The boys are familiar with the story, having watched the movie at their grandma's house, the version with Jason Robards playing Grandfather. It is a touching story, and I think we're all enjoying the book as much as, or more than, the movie. (Yes, the boys saw the movie first on this one!) Heidi is a very endearing character, and even the boys, who are going through an 'eeewww, girls!' stage right now, are pulling for this little heroine. They always beg for one more chapter, so we're speeding through it.
On their own, the boys have recently discovered Henry Huggins books, by Beverly Cleary. They are loving reading them! Henry's sign on his clubhouse door which reads 'No Girls Allowed' immediately struck a chord with them! They were also surprised and pleased to read about landmarks with which they are very familiar from visiting my home in Washington (state). The other day my youngest was quietly reading when he called out to me and said, 'Hey, Mom, listen to this!' He proceeded to read to me about their huckleberry picking on Mt. Hood. Ms. Cleary, the author, grew up just outside of Portland, Oregon, and she incorporates local names and places into her books. As a friend of mine said, next time we're out that way, we'll have to go find Klickitat Street in Portland and show the boys where the stories 'took place'.
As for me, I haven't picked anything up since I finished Dracula a couple of months ago. As much as I want to, being back at it with homeschooling, keeping up with every other daily task about the house, family life in general, on top of spending time reading with the boys, it seems my own reading time is swallowed up.
No complaints though. All too soon the years of homeschooling and evening read-alouds will be but a memory, and I'll have all the time in the world to pull my books off the shelf. I know too that by then I'll look back fondly on these days and years and wish them back. With that thought, I will cherish every turn of every page I read with them today.