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Willard price books -DS (nearly 8) engrossed!

(31 Posts)
betweenmarchandmay Sat 31-Jan-15 10:10:08

My DS is 8 next month and he is engrossed in Willard price books.

I remember them from my own childhood - so much information about animals! Anyone else's kids love them? They're so old but classics never die I suppose! grin

SunnyBaudelaire Sat 31-Jan-15 10:20:01

oh I loved Willard Price too but looking back are they not a bit....
I dunno, colonialist maybe, with v negative stereotyping of non americans and 'baddies'?
Not sure I would be encouraging WP although of course any reading is good I suppose.
Also women are bit 'other' in WP are they not?

betweenmarchandmay Sat 31-Jan-15 10:21:13

Oh yes but it's all contextual isn't it? DS is nearly 8; he knows attitudes and values in the past are not the same as they are now.

SunnyBaudelaire Sat 31-Jan-15 10:23:42

hmmm yes I suppose so.....although the attitudes and values reflected by WP are a bit more than oh yes that was how it was in the past/ IMO./

betweenmarchandmay Sat 31-Jan-15 10:28:31

I don't think he's going to turn into a sexist, racist animal capturer because of a few books, Sunny!

PandasRock Sat 31-Jan-15 10:28:42

I'm with Sunny on this. I read these avidly as a child, and loved them (for the animal content, obviously!) but I would struggle to let dd2 (also 8) read them without a huge lecture each time which would make the reading a bit of a chore! But then dd2 struggles with interpretation, and accepts things as very much black and white (she has AS). I'm not sure I would be as cautious if she were NT, as we could talk it through more easily, I suppose. Although I would still be reading alongside and talkingn through each comment, which would stall the pace somewhat.

Skatingfastonthinice Sat 31-Jan-15 10:29:21

I used them as part of my dissertation on overt and insidious racism in children's books.
I also used Indiana Jones, Charlie and the Chocolate factory, many possibilities.
Just ensure that he understands why those attitudes are unacceptable now, and that you talk about his reading with him. He could end up with a better understanding of racism and the anger and frustrations of ethnic minorities as a consequence.

SunnyBaudelaire Sat 31-Jan-15 10:30:55

I suppose I read them and did not turn into a raving right winger, but on the other hand as a young girl reading them I think I might have internalised his rampant sexism.

betweenmarchandmay Sat 31-Jan-15 10:31:35

Gosh, he's only 8. confused Not even quite 8. He's year 3 - only just in juniors.

I don't think he understands anything about colonialism or 'frustrations of ethnic minorities'! I didn't touch on that until my degree.

I think you can encourage avid reading without worrying that they will absorb the attitudes of what they are reading. He just likes finding out about different attitudes.

betweenmarchandmay Sat 31-Jan-15 10:31:48

Animals, not attitudes!

SunnyBaudelaire Sat 31-Jan-15 10:33:02

a prime age for being affected by what he reads IMO.
Sorry if I sound a bit right on or joyless OP

Skatingfastonthinice Sat 31-Jan-15 10:34:50

That's why you need to talk about it, becaiuse he doesn't have an understanding yet. Lots of us read Empire building stuff when we were younger, I'm an ardent fan of Kipling.

betweenmarchandmay Sat 31-Jan-15 10:38:47

I don't think you sound right on or joyless sunny smile you're completely right in a way about concerns about the books.

However I am not going to stop him reading them (I know you weren't suggesting that) - I do disagree 8 is a 'good age' as I think the concepts of colonialism have just gone completely over his head. As such, drawing attention to them would probably make it more of an issue than it is.

Plus it isn't as if WP is the only thing he reads - in the context of a wider literary diet it's meaningless really. He knows 'they did things differently there' with regard to the past and well, America as well really! grin (DS's "girlfriend" is a mixed race little girl who I reckon could beat him in an arm wrestling match by the way! grin)

I was too old for the HP craze and as a teenage girl in the 90s my reading material was mostly sweet valley high which obviously holds no interest for him! So really I was just pleased we had something "in common" (confession - I re read them!)

TheHouseofMirth Sat 31-Jan-15 10:43:02

I believe the Willard Price state commisioned Anthony McGowan to write some new books. Might be a good solution?

CheshireSplat Sat 31-Jan-15 10:51:13

Hi Between

On a more positive note, I absolutely loved the Adventure books. Can't wait til DDs are old enough to read them. I remember my form teacher telling us about her son who had just finished the series and felt there was nothing to look forward to in life now. Everyone laughed except me because I completely understood!! I was 9.

On the racism, colonial stuff I really don't think it did me any harm. All I remember from them now is quite a lot of useful natural history knowledge (like don't try to escape a big cat by swimming because some love swimming wink) and wondering how those 2 boys got to go off on their own. I don't think the rest has slipped subliminally into my outlook. However, it was 30 years ago I read them so I may be horrified when I reread. grin

betweenmarchandmay Sat 31-Jan-15 11:09:33

Solution? grin

Yes, there are some 'newer' books: he hasn't reached them yet.

As I've said, if they were the only thing he read I would understand people having misgivings - as it is, he reads plenty and just so happens to be reading these at the moment. Rightly or wrongly, I don't censor his reading material.

Cheshire I'm with you!

DeWee Sun 01-Feb-15 00:13:43

DD2 read them at about the same age, and ds read them a couple of year ago (he's 7yo). For both of them it opened up interesting discussions about both wildlife and the issues you mention. Ds was particularly bemused about why the men who obviously were hugely superior in knowledge and age treated Roger as "master".
If anything they were indignant that anyone would consider that Hal and Roger were more in charge simply because of where they came from etc.

I suppose for them it's as much history (ds had been doing Rosa Parks at school, and he linked the two at the time) that time has changed, as the Swallows and Amazons setting off and camping on an island on their own. They don't take what happens and think it's right/expected/what everyone does.
Although dd2 did once stick two capital "S" up on our shed and ask if I could clear it for her to have meetings in it.

Skatingfastonthinice Sun 01-Feb-15 10:05:49

' Ds was particularly bemused about why the men who obviously were hugely superior in knowledge and age treated Roger as "master".'

smile because it's illogical? I'm pleased that they are having those discussions, and still enjoying the books.

Leeds2 Sun 01-Feb-15 12:12:17

My DD read Leopard of Adventure, which had been rewritten by Anthony McGowan.

Hakluyt Sun 01-Feb-15 12:15:17

Sorry- there is plenty else to read. Just let the racist sexist dinosaurs quietly die.

betweenmarchandmay Mon 02-Feb-15 21:37:45

I don't censor my sons reading, hak. He can read what he likes smile

Hakluyt Mon 02-Feb-15 22:11:11

Really? Do you apply the same principle to films and video games?

Waitingonasunnyday Mon 02-Feb-15 22:18:09

Interesting discussion. I don't know the books, but DD is similar age and reading her way through the famous five. I keep thinking I must check if they involve dodgy Enid blyton golliwog as I have vague childhood recollection of this. In which case serious talk needed but not sure if I would censor. Thank you for the prompt.

betweenmarchandmay Mon 02-Feb-15 22:20:40

Yes, he's sat in front of A Nightmare on Elm Street now. Later, he'll play Grand Auto Theft.

Seriously, no. We don't have a TV or a games console. But, he isn't reading pornography hak wink the books (originally) came from the school library. He has a kindle and I'll buy books he wants but that has to come through me of course, so in a sense I would censor I suppose if he wanted to read Fifty Shades of Grey or similar! However, I've never had to - all he's ever read are kids books!

Looseleaf Mon 02-Feb-15 22:20:45

I'm so excited to see this thread as simply loved these growing up. I definitely had a crush on Hal.

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