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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?

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

stealthsquiggle Mon 10-Mar-14 15:46:37

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.

stealthsquiggle Mon 10-Mar-14 17:50:30

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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