I’m starting to feel a little silly including these short childrens’ books on my Lunar New Year readings list, but (a) I wanted to create a log of all the books I read in the Lunar Year from 2005-2006, and (b) I really do want to achieve my goal of reading 50 books in that time.
Besides, if Ezra Pound’s A Draft of XXX Cantos counts as only one book, and if I am not going to count all the supporting texts I’ve read chunks of in my study of it, then the kids’ books are, to my mind, not only fair game but a necessary respite.
In any case, I reread Roald Dahl’s The Twits at the recommendation of my friend Heather, who is a major Roald Dahl fan. She told me that she has read the book with just about every group of kids she’s ever taught, and I can see why. It’s short, it’s amusing, a fun little read, and it appeals to kids’ sense of justice. It’s just a fun story about stupid, nasty people, and how they get their comeuppance by the very means of their own nastiness. Would that this happened more often in the real world. Would that warmongering oil barons had their houses flooded with oil; would that insider-trading pirates ended up living in Watts for ten-year sentences; would that crooked politicians be forced to live with the direct consequences of their corruptions. All too often, the punishment seems not to fit the crime — it is too great for the poor, and too mild for the rich.
Perhaps a childrens’ book needs to be written about that.