Sunday, June 5, 2011

Now This Is A Free Range Kid! Also, Some Books.

I like to think I'm mildly free range as I tend to hover on the correct side of paranoia. As in, I don't think the children I've allowed out without me have been kidnapped at the park until they're at least 10 minutes late in coming home...

Reading Emil and The Detectives to Snowy, I got a taste of the real thing.

Emil, who has had his money stolen on the way to stay with his relations in Berlin, teams up with some local boys to catch the thief.  They plan on an all-night stake out. A boy named the Professor organises the boys and sends a couple home to man the phones.

"I say, ring up my father," the Professor called after them. "Tell him I've very important business to attend to. Then he won't worry about me being late." he added to Emil.
"My word, parents in Berlin are jolly decent," said Emil.....
"On the whole, they're pretty reasonable," returned the Professor."Most of them know that as long as they trust us we aren't likely to deceive them. I promised my father never to do anything mean or dangerous and as long as I abide by that, I can do pretty well as I like. My father's a good sort."

Sadly, I find I am not a good sort. At least not by Berlin standards.

Still, at least I choose good books. Snowy enjoyed Emil, and we're now part way through Knight's Castle by Edward Eager, in which he makes merciless and rather jolly fun of Scott's Ivanhoe. We're also part way through Philippa Pearce's A Dog So Small, another of her rich and imaginative explorations of the interior life of a child. This time it's London boy Ben, who longs for a birthday dog - a mastiff, a Borzoi, a wolfhound - and out of whose disappointment and sorrow grows a tale of wishes postponed and granted.

So whilst Snowy may never experience the delights of staying out all night to capture a thief, he will be adequately entertained in his imprisonment...


  1. Oh, yes. Emil and the Detectives is on my reading list for my boys soon. I think we're going to do The Penderwicks first though. I just finished the new one and BalletBoy wanted to read it, so I suggested we'd do the first one. Another example of free range children's literature, though not quite to the same degree.

  2. What is the new one like ? It's not out here yet but dd's are anxious to get hold of it.