Lord of the Flies & Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - what age group?

(100 Posts)
BananaChoccyPancake Fri 07-Mar-14 18:31:35

Just wondering what age these books are most suitable for, assuming an able reader.

Also, does anyone know if there's such a thing as a wiki-style "Parents' Guide" for books, like the IMDb one for movies?

Enb76 Fri 07-Mar-14 18:34:25

I read Lord of the Flies when I was 12 and Hitchhikers when I was 14. I don't think HGTTG would be very funny much under 14 and though I could probably have coped with LotF younger than 12, I think it was about the right age.

Enb76 Fri 07-Mar-14 18:35:35

Commonsensemedia.com is what you're looking for

BananaChoccyPancake Fri 07-Mar-14 18:41:03

Thanks Enb76, that's helpful.

almapudden Fri 07-Mar-14 18:44:56

I read both when I was 12 and enjoyed them both very much. I think younger than about 12 and a lot of the significance/humour would be missed.

kimlo Fri 07-Mar-14 18:45:14

I was going to ask the same about lord of the flies. dd1s book club is considering it, they have children from year 3.

I studied it at gcse, I dont remember that much about it but it seems a bit young.

Eastpoint Fri 07-Mar-14 18:49:27

My son read Hitchhikers Guide to Galaxy when he was in yr 6 and read Lord of the Flies in yr 7. He loved the Hitchhikers books.

FiveExclamations Fri 07-Mar-14 18:51:19

I also read them both about 12, Lord of the Flies was was brilliant, but terrifying, HHGTTG brilliant and funny.

There is mention of a whore in HHGTTG and if you are expecting them to progress through the rest of the books a mild sex scene in number 4 and at least one "fuck".

Jux Fri 07-Mar-14 19:00:05

Dd read Hitchhiker's at 12 and loves it, has reread it several times (she's 13 now). She did LOTF with the school at 13 and hated it - mind you, I hated it too, when I read it in my teens. Haven't re-read it, so no idea if I still would.

maillotjaune Fri 07-Mar-14 20:20:47

DS1 is 11 next month and reading Hitch Hikers now. He read the first book in 3 days last week and is onto the second - I did think it might go over his head but we've read some of it together and discussed other bits and I'd say he is getting most of the humour.

He's a great re-reader so I expect he'll come back to them at a later date and get something different out of them.

Clonakiltylil Fri 07-Mar-14 21:44:23

Rape imagery in Lord of the Flies is very disturbing for virtually anyone. Be very careful Just because this book is about young boys does not mean it is suitable for them.

hardboiled Fri 07-Mar-14 21:58:14

Ds read hitchhikers when he was 10. He loved it and found it hilarious. Lord of the flies is so disturbing I am keeping him away from it as long as I can. They are completely different books!

13 for Lord of the Flies. The idea of doing it with Yr 3, however 'good' they are at reading, seems positively ridiculous to me (I'm an English teacher and have done it with Yr 9-12 before). I'm not sure how much anybody younger than 12 or so would get out of it.

wol1968 Fri 07-Mar-14 22:44:48

I read Lord of the Flies at some ridiculously early age, like 8 or 9, and certainly got the creepiness of the imagery, the bullying and the utter sadness and horror of the ending. I don't think I understood the significance of rape at that age. I think, if you're into adult books that can be read by children, Animal Farm is a much better choice.

bunnybing Sat 08-Mar-14 18:06:21

I read Hitch Hikers when I was around 12/13 and found it hilarious - one of my fave books/series ever. Bought it for DH recently and he reckons it's dated hmm - don't agree.

Read Lord of the Flies in English lessons in yr 9- any rape imagery completely passed me by.

kimlo Sat 08-Mar-14 18:39:36

remus thats how I feel about it. They did the demon dentist last term, I just dont get the thinking behind it.

Im going to have to bring it up with the teacher next week.

Dd loves Hitchhikers at 10. I wouldn't let her read Lord of the Flies yet though.

Kimlo - yes, deffo speak to the teacher. It seems like they either don't know the book v well, or don't know children v well! smile

Wurstwitch Sat 08-Mar-14 19:08:39

Mine are all into hitch hikers at the mo - they are 10, 12 and 14.
As they were reading the book, I dug up the film on netflix, I haven't seen it for years! V funny.

Coincidentally, I spent yesterday googling Marvin pics for a work colleague... Is there some sort of hitch hikers resurgence going on? Are they reprinting? Selling box sets or something?

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Sun 09-Mar-14 09:46:17

My 10 year old son just devoured Lord of the Flies. Couldn't put it down. We chatted a bit about how society needs rules and particularly about when the kids are rescued and those rules come flooding back to them along with all the emotions. His on Animal Farm now .....

I did say to him that these books will keep giving more to him as he re-reads them over the years. He seemed to understand that.

MrsSteptoe Sun 09-Mar-14 09:55:59

I wouldn't let DS loose on LOTF just yet. I think it would really upset him. He's anxious enough about secondary school transfer without reading LOTF. I shall also be avoiding Tom Brown's Schooldays for the time being.

Now I've read ^^, though, I might try him on HHGTTG. I think he'll appreciate ZB and Marvin.

LetUsPrey Sun 09-Mar-14 10:01:16

Radio 4 Extra started re-broadcasting Hitchhiker's yesterday at 6pm. It was 36 years to the day from the original broadcast.

Stuff about it here

I am encouraging DS1(12) to listen to it and then hope he'll want to read the books.

I love HHGTTG smile

i read HHGTTG as a teen but can't get into it out, might suggest it to my teens

Martorana Sun 09-Mar-14 10:21:16

"I think, if you're into adult books that can be read by children, Animal Farm is a much better choice."

What, that charming story about cuddly animals? hmm

Why do people do this? The world is full of fabulous, age appropriate books for children. Why spoil grown up books for them by getting them to read them as children?

I agree Martorana. I was an extremely good reader, read LOTF at 14 and was freaked out by it. When I studied it at GCSE I was much more able to understand it. Why do people insist on pushing disturbing books onto younger and younger children? confused

BananaChoccyPancake Sun 09-Mar-14 12:03:51

"Why do people insist on pushing disturbing books onto younger and younger children?"

Probably because they don't know what's in them! smile I read both books when I was in my twenties and can't remember enough about them to know whether they're suitable or not. That's why I asked the question at the start of the thread about a wiki-style "Parents' Guide" for books, like the IMDb one for movies, which I use a lot to help me decide which films I'm happy for my kids to watch.

It's hard to get similarly detailed information for books, but asking the question on Mumsnet is the next best thing to re-reading them yourself.

Some people seem to think that it makes their children sound super-intelligent, but it doesn't.

Both of my dds were early and very good readers and by 14 dd1 had read lots of classics, but at 14 I think they are emotionally ready to deal with most things, with literature giving them a safe forum for doing so. At 10 and 11, no.

MrsSteptoe Sun 09-Mar-14 12:22:12

Going back to the Animal Farm/LOTF comparison, actually, I do think Animal Farm is quite a good introduction to certain concepts for an 11 year old who's up for it. The animals are precisely what makes it a way of introducing ideas about corruption in a safe way. LOTF is much more direct and disturbing and I wouldn't want DS to read it yet. DS (11) has just read Animal Farm. He enjoyed it, understood what happened with the pigs, and sort of vaguely understands that the same thing can happen with people, but isn't too worried about it at this point. He is, however, annoyed at the implication that the animals could hold paintbrushes without opposable thumbs.

BananaChoccyPancake Sun 09-Mar-14 12:32:59

"Some people seem to think that it makes their children sound super-intelligent, but it doesn't."

<<Tosses her hair, turns on her heel, and flounces off with her nose in the air>>


maillotjaune Sun 09-Mar-14 12:33:11

I think sometimes people have fond memories of books (although that might not be the word for LOTF) and think it would be nice for their child to read it, forgetting not just the contents but also the age at which they read it.

HHGTTG is one I had re-read recently so knew it was OK. But it was DS who saw it and asked if he could read it, rather than me suggesting it.

LOTF I remember being disturbed by in my mid-teens and as a result I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it.

Animal Farm I love but got most out of it in the 6th form due to being politically aware and seeing a production at the National with school, so although I wasn't studying it (or even studying English) there was an outlet for discussing it, and other Orwell, with other teens and teachers. Just think it would be wasted on my 10yo. Unlike HHGTTG which is surely for big kids grin

Banana - How old is your dd/ds? There are some really brilliant YA books around, if you want recs.

BananaChoccyPancake Sun 09-Mar-14 12:52:11

Thanks Remus - I'm not really after recommendations. I was just looking at the books on my own shelf and wondering whether/when those two in particular might appeal to him. (Not because I think he's super intelligent, but just because we have similar tastes. For what it's worth I like reading kids' books too).

I've got the answer I needed.

MrsSteptoe Sun 09-Mar-14 13:17:32

Sorry to hijack your thread, OP, but if RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie wants to stick half a dozen recs on here, I'm always interested (within reason!). My DS is 11 (Y7 this coming Sep). Apparently he's more intelligent than I realise confused. He's read various Cherubs, the Noughts&Crosses Blackman books, and is going through Hunger Games like a dose of salts. Any other recs, I'd like to hear them?

Oh OP, I didn't mean you, I'm sorry!

MrsSteptoe, has he discovered Patrick Ness yet? The trilogy that starts with The Knife of Never Letting Go is always a hit with Hunger Games fans. It's a bit harder to read though, and there is a very sad bit about a dog in the first one, just to warn you!

MrsSteptoe Sun 09-Mar-14 15:11:58

Ooh, I'll research that one! tx!

Yes to Patrick Ness trilogy - the 1st 2 are excellent; the final one less so.
For a much easier (but sad) read, his 'A Monster Calls' is v good too - and much less of a commitment, time-wise.

At 11 my dd1 loved Leanne Hearne's Across The Nightingale Floor series - there is quite a lot of sex, both straight and gay, in it, but it's not graphic - quite bloody too, but really gripping reads and the fact that they are just stories, rather than allegories like Animal Farm and LOTF means they are fine and easy enough to 'get' at 11 without missing lots of important stuff.

Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart series is really exciting - better for 11 year olds than His Dark Materials imho, as it doesn't have all the v complex theological issues - they are just cracking adventure stories.

If you want classics, maybe things like 20000 Leagues Under The Sea and Around The World in 80 Days?

Oh and Michael Grant's Gone series - a bit gruesome, some sex in the later ones, and the last 2 are nowhere near as good as the earlier ones, but they are an interesting series and lots of teens really enjoy them.

nicp123 Sun 09-Mar-14 16:57:37

My child's Y5 class was advised to read Lord of the flies as a challenge and they are 9/10 years old children. Only 1% of parents bothered buying the book.

Nocomet Sun 09-Mar-14 17:08:23

HHGTTG 8 plus it's utterly and totally brilliant my DSIS and me could hold whole conversations on HHGTTG quotes, we had it on tape and listened to it over and over again.

DD1 really enjoyed and totally got Animal farm at 13-14

LOTF never unless you need scrap paper to light your fire, it is a totaly vile book, Golding must have been truly warped.

Nocomet Sun 09-Mar-14 17:14:27

"Why do people insist on pushing disturbing books onto younger and younger children?"

I wish I knew? DD1 is absolutely fed up of upsetting and depressing books, plays and history topics. About a boy is about the only non miserable thing they have studied.
Although she loves Romeo and Juliet, they still die!

Martorana Sun 09-Mar-14 17:28:29

Patrick Ness is iin a different league to the a Hunger Games. Ds is 13 and he's currently reading More Than This- but he can only read a couple of chapters at a time because "it's too intense".....

LOTF is superb, and the idea of Golding being 'warped' because he considered what might happen if a bunch of boys were left without any adult supervision, in an alien environment, is an extreme over-reaction, I think. That's like saying that Shakespeare was warped because he created Lady Macbeth, or whatever. It is, however, a 'disturbing' book - it's supposed to be. Most great fiction isn't soft and fluffy - that's why it's great, because it forces us to consider a world beyond our own.

Martorana Sun 09-Mar-14 18:04:57

"My child's Y5 class was advised to read Lord of the flies as a challenge and they are 9/10 years old children. Only 1% of parents bothered buying the book."

I wouldn't have bought it either. It wouldn't be anything to do it's "not bothering".hmm It would have been because it is entirely inappropriate for the age group. And they wouldn't have understood any of the subtleties. And I would have told the teacher that.

MrsSteptoe Sun 09-Mar-14 18:58:43

RemusLupinsGroupie thanks for that

TheWomanWithTheMysteriousLump Sun 09-Mar-14 19:06:12

If he hasn't read them yet then he could catch up with Artemis Fowl and Percy Jackson MrsS. Frances Hardinge is also v good, and the YA Pratchetts (or even the "adult" Pratchetts).

DS, aged 9, was obsessed by the first two HHGTTG books for a while. He never asked me what a whore was fortunately, or indeed expressed confusion over what "the best bang since the big one" might mean.

Ooh yes to Pratchett - especially the ones with the Carpet People.

Nocomet Sun 09-Mar-14 23:33:25

Sorry rebus it's was glaringly obvious to me aged 13 where LOTR was going from about page three.

Human nature is savage any much bullied primary school child knows that.

To actually bother to sit down and earnestly write 200 or whatever pages stating the blessing obvious in such unpleasant detail is sick.

Nocomet Sun 09-Mar-14 23:34:51

Although not as unforgivable as the lazy examining boards who can't be arsed to set a decent book instead.

Nocomet Sun 09-Mar-14 23:35:19


Nocomet Sun 09-Mar-14 23:36:21

By 9 I'm certain your DS knows what a whore is.

BananaChoccyPancake Mon 10-Mar-14 09:22:34

"By 9 I'm certain your DS knows what a whore is."

MY DCs school read one of the Lady Grace Mysteries in Year 4, and the whore word was definitely in that. I can't help wondering if DS's teacher skipped it when she read it out, as she was rather a traditional old dear. smile

JustAnotherUserName Mon 10-Mar-14 10:11:42

Radio 4 Today this morning had a piece about criminalising prostitution. My 10 year old certainly didn't know what a prostitute was! (Couldn't get his head around the idea of buying sex when I tried to explain: "why would a man do that?".

NotCitrus Mon 10-Mar-14 10:24:51

HHGTTG I think would be OK for 10+, but some of the jokes would be missed. LOTF is seriously disturbing. Third year was quite soon enough. Have to admit I don't remember any rape in it despite writing A-graded essays on the book.

I read Animal Farm when I was about 8 and was hugely upset by it for ages - it had pictures of cute animals on the cover so I had no idea it wasn't a children's book. Didn't help that I then followed it up with 1984 (slim book, bright cover, looked more like a book for me than for my parents...)

MrsSteptoe Mon 10-Mar-14 10:52:19

Nocomet / JustAnotherUserName
I've told DS what a whore is (can't remember why he asked, probably something in a film). As a piece of information, it hasn't even remotely lodged in his mind because he doesn't really understand what sex is, despite attempts to tell him using proper body part names and everything. IMO, kids can literally block out learning that they don't yet want to deal with. I don't think there's anything wrong with knowing what a whore is at 9, but I certainly don't think all 9yo boys are the same. DS is 11 today, and I swear he's 11 going on 9. Other boys are 11 going on 13.

mistlethrush Mon 10-Mar-14 10:57:45

Lord of the Flies was a set work for me in Yr9. I found it sickening - but no one else in the class seemed to have a problem with it.

My son has listened to the whole of HHGTTG on the original broadcast recordings (he's 8, Yr4) but I don't think he would get through the book yet - and he is a good reader.

MrsSteptoe Mon 10-Mar-14 11:47:28

mistlethrush Out of interest, did you vocalise your feelings about it in class? Or did you keep quiet?

My 10yo DD adores HHGTTG, she started with an audio book then asked for the books for Christmas and has been loving them.
She also loves Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching series, if you are looking for something different.
I personally wouldn't suggest LOTF to a young teen. Genuinely horrifying.

Ubik1 Mon 10-Mar-14 11:55:52

Lord of the Flies - we were 14 - exactly the correct age to explore its huge themes.

We had to write about the 'noble savage' vs the 'fallen man' ie: do we need civilisation to civilise us?

I loved it. The film is brilliant too.

Rape imagery? What was that? I know the decomposing head of the airman was supposed to be 'The Lord of the Flies' ie: Satan but never got rape imagery.

And I think an 11 year old is quite capable of reading any of these works of literature but they will need to revisit them when older to actually grasp the themes rather than just the plotline.

mistlethrush Mon 10-Mar-14 11:59:50

MrsSteptoe - no, I didn't because I tried to stand out as little as possible in terms of class dynamics - it was difficult enough without exacerbating things. Perhaps that's part of why it hit home so much?

Ubik1 Mon 10-Mar-14 12:00:44

Oh no not the airman it was the pig, wasn't it. But I don't recall any rape imagery...perhaps I was too busy focusing on 'what it means to be human' which is the major theme of this amazing book.

puddock Mon 10-Mar-14 12:02:38

Loved HHGTG at 10. Radio 4 Extra are broadcasting the original radio programmes at the moment, might be a good way in?

GooseyLoosey Mon 10-Mar-14 12:05:32

Ds read Lord of the Flies in school in Yr 5. Don't think he got much out of it at all, so would wait until about 12 as others have said.

He is reading Hitchhikers now (at 10) and enjoys it. He finds it funny, but I have no way of telling if there is humour that he is missing.

Nocomet Mon 10-Mar-14 12:06:36

I was 8 or 9 and asked what a prostitute was in front of my grandparents (Yorkshire ripper all over the news). My DDad told me in the car going home.

I'd always know (from being a toddler) what sex was. DDad always answered questions.

I have DDs the older one of whom just tends to absorb stuff. The younger one looks blush, but puts two and two together.

Lovecat Mon 10-Mar-14 12:09:46

I don't remember a rape scene in LOTF - mind you, I haven't touched it since I was 13 and had to do it in school.

I was a precocious reader and worked my way through my mum's bookcase, reading a lot of stuff at about the age of 7 that really wasn't child-friendly. Having said that, I blanked out/skimmed over a lot of stuff that I didn't get, like sex scenes or other nuances.

I read Watership Down at that age, and really enjoyed it. I then got The Plague Dogs out of the library as I assumed it was another animal story - which it was, to be fair, but there was a hell of a lot more adult stuff in it and lots more human-related stuff. I reread it in my twenties and there was so much in it I'd missed.

Actually the thing that freaked me out about Watership Down were the quotes at the start of the chapters - this one in particular I can still recall word for word, it sunk into my brain and creeped me out so much:

When the green field comes off like a lid
Revealing what was much better hid;
And look, behind you without a sound
The woods have come up and are standing round
In deadly crescent.

The bolt is sliding in its groove,
Outside the window is the black removers' van.
And now with sudden swift emergence
Come the woman in dark glasses and humpbacked surgeons
And the scissors man.

I did not have the capacity to process this as a seven year old and it gave me the screaming abdabs...

pointythings Mon 10-Mar-14 12:14:01

DD1 did Animal Farm before Christmas in Yr8 - she got a lot out of it, but that was because it was very well taught with a lot of discussion about politics, the nature and use of propaganda and the rise and fall of Communism. Its relevance today was very well presented, it's a very worthwhile book but it needs to be backed up by some good teaching.

LOTF is a book I would not want my DDs to read until they are older, although I do think it is a brilliant book - not warped, just an unflinching dissection of the fragility of human civilisation.

FWIW my DD1 is reading Michael Moorcock's Elric stories for pleasure at the moment and we are having some interesting debates about gender roles in fiction as well as about use of language.

DD2 is reading To Kill A Mockingbird in her extension group in Yr6 - she's 11, I read it at the same age and then again when I was older and got very different things from it but it was all worthwhile. At home she's reading Good Omens by Pratchett/Gaiman, we devour Pratchett at home. It's much less of a difficult book than I Shall Wear Midnight, which she has also read (though I read it to both of them first in light of the difficult subject matter in places).

They both know what prostitutes are.

Ubik1 Mon 10-Mar-14 12:14:35

Watership Down is truly amazing piece of work and hugely underrated I think.The sense of this creeping primal horror which he sustains all the way through.

'the scissors man' shock

The film is terrifying too

Ubik1 Mon 10-Mar-14 12:17:57

DD1 aged 9 has just read When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit which I think she enjoyed and which I think is an excellent introduction to the experience of being a refugee.

Although she then said that she wasn't sure about the book's title as at no point does Hitler steal a rabbit grin I hope she reads it again when she is a bit older.

wol1968 Mon 10-Mar-14 14:29:14

Ah yes, Watership Down, 'a proper grown-up novel for children' supposedly, which really is much better read by adults. smile I found it heavy going at 9, despite being a precocious reader. The presence of the pre-chapter quotes was puzzling to me as a child, and as an adult I find them rather pretentious. I enjoyed the book, though, when I finally got into it.

FWIW, I think that a lot of whether a child can handle the themes and imagery of a given book (whether aimed at adults or children) is down to the individual child's temperament, rather than age or reading ability. Some children's books are every bit as disturbing as LOTF (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, for example, and that one about a nuclear holocaust by, I think, Robert Swindells?) I find it rather patronising to suggest that all children's/young people's fiction should have themes that are watered down, made more palatable or otherwise 'easier to handle'. Kids are generally pretty good at working out their own limits with these things.

WHY are Year 6s doing To Kill a Mockingbird? It is the 2nd most popular set text for GCSE and the most popular choice for top sets. I know they get different things out of it but we have a hard enough job at secondary trying to get teenagers into Literature - please, primary teachers, leave us SOMETHING to grab them with!


Ubik1 Mon 10-Mar-14 14:51:01

There was a fab thread on mumsnet a while ago about traumatising fiction for young teens in the 1980's/90's.

Brother in the Land was one I remember well - flipping awful, post holocaust nightmare.

pointythings Mon 10-Mar-14 15:09:39

It's not all of Yr6, IHeart, it's a very small extension group who are all very able readers not just technically but in terms of their emotional maturity. They're a bit unusual, and I've seen some scary bright children. I suspect most things you throw at them would grab them, but I do take your point...

If it's any consolation I think that TKaM is the sort of book you can revisit again and again.

I'll try and steer her away from GCSE books in future though, there is a lot of other good stuff around after all.

pointythings Mon 10-Mar-14 15:10:53

And wol I agree with you - not letting children read books they are emotionally ready for is just as bad as dumping Private Peaceful on a group where only a handful may be able to deal with the content.

mistlethrush Mon 10-Mar-14 15:27:54

Pointy - I read Bleak House when I was 11 (in 3 days)(so fairly capable with reading!). However, I still found LoTF horrid to read at 13/14. The Spire also by William Golding is a fascinating book but not as horrid.

kimlo Mon 10-Mar-14 15:35:26

I spoke to the head teacher today when I picked up. the children were deciding for themselves what they wanted to read in bookclub, and decided on lotf from what was written on the back on a copy in the libary.

The teacher took it to the headteacher and said she wasnt comfortable doing it. The headteacher agreed and they are going to choose something else.

Im glad I dont think 10 year old dd1 would get anything from it, but the younger children definitely wouldnt.

MrsSteptoe Mon 10-Mar-14 15:39:57

mistlethrush sorry, this has got separated a bit from the above posts, but I was more thinking that there were probably lots of people in the class who felt exactly like you, but because you were all keeping quiet about it, each of you thought everyone else was fine with it. Who knows, maybe one of them is even on this thread... wink

Haven't read whole thread (yet) but I would definitely say HHGTTG was OK younger than LOTF. DS(11) has read HHGTTG and Restaurant at the End of the Universe and he loved them, but I would hesitate to set him off on LOTF (although, TBH, he may have read it for all I know - a lot of reading happens at school and he was reading Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines when last seen, which I had never heard of but I suspect is of a similar "reading age" to LOTF).

mistlethrush Mon 10-Mar-14 15:49:55

MrsSteptoe - I don't think so - quite positive things seemed to be the overall opinion about the book. I've not been able to read it since because it gave me such bad feelings / mental pictures. That would definitely be a book that I wouldn't reread.

pointythings Mon 10-Mar-14 15:55:26

mistlethrush LOTF is definitely a very disturbing book - I was 14 when I read it, have read it again since because I found it brilliant, but to say I 'enjoyed' it would be a misnomer. I definitely think it should be left until children are older - as should 1984 and Brave New World. Being haunted by a book is not necessarily a bad thing, LOTF is by no means the only book that stayed in my head, but you do have to fit the book to the child.

HHGTTG is a completely different kettle of fish, I'd happily let my 11yo read it if she showed an interest.

maillotjaune Mon 10-Mar-14 17:40:30

Stealth my DS has recently devoured the Mortal Engines series and started on the prequels. I read the first one - quite liked it but I wouldn't put it in the same league as LOTF.

It had unpleasant parts but felt so much more removed - London is a city on wheels, thousands of years in the future, robot things (stalkers?) - whereas what I remember of LOTF was all the more disturbing for being realistic / believable.

Thanks, maillotjaune - good to know. I didn't get a chance to read it as it was a school library book and had to go straight back. DS's English teacher and I are having a slight difference of opinion at the moment as there is a list of books (as yet unseen) which she thinks he should be reading at bedtime, while I think that since his head barely reaches the pillow before he is asleep, and has to be dragged out of bed in the mornings, he clearly needs all the sleep he can get, and bedtime reading can wait until the holidays. I certainly don't want reading to be yet another thing that he "has" to do. He read Mortal Engines at home, in 2 days - because he was at home ill.

There isn't a rape in LOTF, for those who were wondering, but the killing of the pig is written with v deliberate rape imagery.

Eastpoint Mon 10-Mar-14 19:18:23

Thanks Remus I did wonder about that & thought I must have simply read it so long ago that I hadn't understood.

MrsSteptoe Mon 10-Mar-14 19:24:12

Mortal Engines was one of the set texts on an OU module I did on Children's Literature, but I opted for the historical text (Coram Boy) instead. Keep meaning to read ME, but have not yet done so - sci-fi isn't normally my thing, but so many people have recommended it that I really want to give it a shot.

ME v good - much better than Coram Boy!

Martorana Mon 10-Mar-14 20:05:19

I don't care how advanced they are, I don't think year 6s should be reading I Shall Wear Midnight or To Kill a Mockingbird!

Martorana Mon 10-Mar-14 20:07:17

Hitchhiker's Guide, though is a different thing- my ds has read it so often he knows it by heart - I think I first read it to him (with a few judicious cuts) when he was about 8.

pointythings Mon 10-Mar-14 20:41:37

martorana I really believe that it depends on the individual child. I know I said that I didn't think LOTF was suitable for an 11yo, but I don't rule out that there may be 11yos who are equipped to handle it.

The thing I feel strongly about is that it should be down to the parents to make those decisions, or at the very least to be consulted about those decisions. I Shall Wear Midnight was my decision - I had read the entire Tiffany Aching series to the DDs, we kept the last one for a year and then I felt we could do it together. I read it to them and we discussed it. Yes, it is very dark in places and the opener is a very difficult read, but it is also a very good book, funny in places and with a strong sense of moral justice about it.

I've never cut anything I have read to my DDs, I have explained it instead.

Martorana Mon 10-Mar-14 21:13:20

"I've never cut anything I have read to my DDs, I have explained it instead."

Really? In this case I decided that ds would very much enjoy Slarty Bardfast and Marvin and all the rest at the age of 8, but the Triple Breasted Whore of Galacticon 5 could wait a year or two!

pointythings Mon 10-Mar-14 21:46:19

Not that simple, Martorana. If I don't think I should read it to them because I might have to cut things, I don't read it to them. If I don't think they should be reading a particular book, I won't give it to them. If I adamantly disagree with what the school thinks they should read, I will go in and make myself heard.

Ultimately I am my DD's parent, and so I decide what they read and what they watch and what computer games they play. That will differ from what other parents think their children aged 13 and 11 should read, watch and play but isn't it up to each one of us as parents to make that decision? You have the right to decide that your children should not read I Shall Wear Midnight and other books and I will not judge you for that decision. Can you do me the same courtesy?

FWIW my DD1 is very interested in Game of Thrones and there is no way in hell she will be watching that until she is at least 17.

Nocomet Mon 10-Mar-14 23:03:18

I'm afraid large chunks of GOT are on YouTube and the books are in the 'sixth form' only bit of the library.

Consequently DD1 had watched/read a lot if it by 14. School librarians don't sign books out, I think she's read most of the non horror books in that section.

pointythings Tue 11-Mar-14 08:50:22

Doesn't surprise me, Nocomet, and obviously I can't control what DD1 sees at school. We have a no Internet in bedrooms rule in our house, which we all stick to - even DH and I.

She's seen the trailers for GoT on Sky and we've discussed the contents of the show. In a way I would rather she read the books first, even though they too are graphic and violent - I just hope she sticks with Elric for the time being. She wants to read Jane Eyre next so at least her interests are wide and I hope I can nudge her towards material that is a little less adult.

mistlethrush Tue 11-Mar-14 09:13:04

My 8 yo was enjoying 'Guards Guards'. And I think most of the TP is quite accessible - even if you would miss alot of the puns / places the stories have been adapted from etc. 1984 I read well before LoTF and really enjoyed it.

Ubik1 Tue 11-Mar-14 09:52:40

I think reading is different to watching TV. I was reading everything I could find in the library aged 11 including some fairly adult themed stuff. With books you can only process so much because your interpretation is in your head, TV has already interpreted and visualised a scene for you.

So I would never complain to a school about its choice of books for children (unless it's unremittingly dull) because children take from literature what they can and if they re-read the literature when older they will understand it differently.

So I read daphne du maurier's Rebecca in my early teens and was fairly sympathetic to the heroine, thought Rebecca sounded awful. On re-reading in my twenties it becomes clear that it is Maximilian who is the villain. Poor old Rebecca.

mistlethrush Tue 11-Mar-14 10:17:45

I've talked about that with DS - and he agrees that the HP book is better than the film because the pictures you see in your head are 'more real' than the ones on screen - that sometimes don't get the details 'right' ifyswim. I found 'The Owl Service' really scary when I read it.

Ubik1 Tue 11-Mar-14 10:23:35

On yes the Owl Service is creepy. I re-read The Moon of Gomrath to DD1 last year and while it wasn't as fabulous I remembered, there was a chapter where the children cross a moor in darkness pursued by an unknown something which gave me goosebumps.

mistlethrush Tue 11-Mar-14 10:51:30

It was the owls flying off the plates that did me in... I don't know why. And I like owls.

pointythings Tue 11-Mar-14 11:02:19

The Owl Service is one of the scariest books I have ever read. Brilliant, but scary. The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and the Moon of Gomrath are far less scary (but also brilliant, I must remember to raid my mum's bookcase for those).

Ubik1 Tue 11-Mar-14 11:08:57

Also The Wizard of Earthsea - so underrated but written by Ursula Le Guin and it is amazing, quite disturbing themes, magic which has rules and consequences,real hardship, completely different world.

pointythings Tue 11-Mar-14 11:21:15

We have that one in the bookcase too, Ubik1 smile. I found The Tombs of Atuan particularly disturbing, since you never really come face to face with whatever it is that is in charge there.

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