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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?

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?

IHeartKingThistle Sun 09-Mar-14 15:06:20

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

IHeartKingThistle Sun 09-Mar-14 15:08:00

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


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