Friday, May 23, 2008

Star Jumper

I have tried J to get interested in the imaginary, whimsical and the fantastical in reading and otherwise. Sometimes we make up stories as a game, adding to each other's plots until the results are quite crazy. My efforts to send the protagonist through a door that leads to a magic kingdom or have Aladdin come upon his cave is always countered by J's unyielding realism.

The characters are yanked right out, set straight and put on their way on a more mundane and believable course. I give up in the end not quite able to fathom my practical little Virgo who does not have one shred of my love for the imaginary and improbable. She has no yen for the girly stuff either when it comes to reading. She'll tires of the goody two-shoes and the divas equally and very quickly.

Now a story like Star Jumper - Journal of a Cardboard Genius by Frank Asch is something she can enjoy. After she finished reading it recently, I asked her to tell me about it - what the story is about, what she like and disliked. This is a "review" of sorts in J's words.

The story is about Alex and his little brother Jonathan. Jonathan really annoys Alex and Alex wants to get away from him. Wherever that Alex goes, Jonathan always follows him. Peter Pan sewed it back for her when Wendy lost her shadow but Jonathan does the opposite - he tries to cover Alex's shadow with his own body. Alex finds a way that he could get away from him - by building a spaceship.

He first made a plan and it took him about twenty minutes but he could have done it faster if Jonathan wasn't bugging him. The only time that Alex has peace is at school. At school he stares at the girl in front of him named Zoe Breen. He works on the calculations for his space ship in class. Zoe asks him what it is and he tells her it is a little math for extra credit. He finds the materials for the spaceship in the attic.

After dinner he builds it and at night he tries it out. When he goes into space he goes on a spacewalk but on his way back he hits another planet. He thought about it and he told himself he was missing a part. He wondered if there was anything strange on the planet. He then came back home.

What I like : When Zoe called from the phonebook, she asked if Alex he wanted to watch the Mummies’ Curse. He wondered if anyone else from their class would be there and if they would think he was on a date and tease him. He brought Jonathan along. How he made the spaceship. Everything the space ship needed was already in his own house. He recycled and did not have to buy anything.

What I did not like : The way Jonathan bugged Alex. The pictures of Jonathan in the book do not express his behavior and how he really acts.

Even with all that information, I am no closer to understanding why J likes what she does. This sounds like science fiction and does not jive with her need for "real" and yet somehow it works. She also liked Caitlin's Holiday when she read it a while ago - a story about a girl and her talking doll. Maybe it is all about what J finds believable or possible and what she does not. At any rate, I will keep trying get her excited about genies in bottles and magic faraway trees.


Priyamvada_K said...

I think sometimes its the romantics that suffer a lot. Realists are very grounded and know what they want. They have realistic expectations about themselves and others, and will probably have a better emotional life.

Glad to know J is a realist. That can be a good thing....even though right now the fairy tales are falling flat :-)


ggop said...

Can't blame you for not being closer to figuring out what J likes.

This may explain why Amazon/Netflix "suggestions" based on my past ratings fall flat for me. :-)

Didn't Netflix in particular announce a million dollar prize for people who could improve the algorithms by 10%?

Heartcrossings said...

Priya - You are right abour romantics suffering more emotionally and I have do but I would not trade it for anything :) As for J I have to try and get her hooked to something Sci-fi with a bit of fairy tale thrown in. That would be like slipping the veggies under the french fries.

ggop - I don't have Netflix but the Amazon suggestions are quite pointless. Had no idea it was that much money to tweak the algorithm. Gotta be really hard to do !