Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, May 20, 2017

That Wonder of a Teacher ...

Adams Elementary School
Enid, Oklahoma
I attended grades 1, 3-6
This story (these stories?) could take several posts to tell ... so ... here we go ...

Yesterday, I finished reading Michael Chabon's 2002 novel, Summerland, a baseball fantasy novel published by the "children's" arm of Hyperion Books. I suppose it's supposed to be a YA novel--and it could (just guessing) have come from Chabon's pen/word-processor as part of the publishing phenomenon known as Harry Potter, whose first adventure appeared in 1997, and by mid-summer 2002, J. K. Rowling had published four of the seven titles in the series. Everyone knows about their wild, unprecedented popularity.

But who knows if this was Chabon's inspiration? Chabon is a brilliant writer, and this one could have been simmering in his brain long before little Harry walked on the stage--and stole the spotlights.

Anyway, I will be writing more about Summerland in "Sunday Sundries" tomorrow in this space, but suffice it now to say that it's a book about an eleven-year-old boy, Ethan, who sucks at baseball (but doesn't want to), a boy who finds himself drawn into another dimension (think: Narnia--where time is not the same as here), a boy who realizes he has been chosen to save the world from the darkness (think: every fantasy novel you've ever read). Along the way, Ethan and his motley crew of companions (think: Lord of the Rings) must use baseball to defeat some of the Bad Guys who stand between them and the world's salvation. Ethan acquires a sort of magic bat (think: Sting in The Hobbit). And so on ...

I was reading the book for more than one reason. Visitors here know that I've been reading my way through all of Chabon's novels. So ... I had to read this one. But I was also wondering if our grandsons (both of whom love baseball), ages 8 and 12, would be able to read the book. Not only do they love baseball--they love Tolkien, et al., a legacy from their father, who loved those books back when he was a boy. (Okay, and so did I.) Joyce read them to him when he was a Wee One--her nightly, loving ritual as she put him to bed. He's seen the movies countless times--and has passed along his passion to his sons.

But, reading Chabon, I felt that Summerland might be just a bit down the road for them. I thought maybe I'd give the book to our son and daughter-in-law--see what they think.

And talking this over the other night with Joyce on one of our "evening drives," I mentioned that it would be a great book for a teacher to read to an elementary-school/middle-school class.

And thus I remembered my own remarkable fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Rockwell--Mrs. Stella Rockwell--who read to us every day after lunch recess. Helped us calm down for the afternoon's work and activities. Oh, she was a wonder, Mrs. Rockwell, and in the ensuing posts here, I will tell you how and why.

To be continued ...

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