Thursday, July 19, 2012

Introducing Wombly the Wombat!

I do apologize, my good Down Unders, that I was absent last week. Wombly wasn't feeling very well. Ah! Who is this Wombly creature that I speak of? He is Wombly the Wombat!

Wombly Sitting on Some of His Favorite Down Under Books
Wombly is going to be reading along with me and helping me in my reviewing. He is very pleased to meet you and is feeling a bit on the nervous side, so I thought, in order to calm his fears and to help you get to know him better, we could do an interview.

NaomiRuth: Hello Wombly! And how are you doing today?

Wombly: *womble womble*

NaomiRuth: I'm sorry, Wombly, but you cannot speak Wombat here. No one else speaks Wombat.

Wombly: Oh! So sorry! I am doing very well today, thank you.

NaomiRuth: There's something I have only touched on and haven't really discussed here on the blog. The question of: are Down Under books worth reading? We'll get to that question a little bit later, but first I'd like to ask a different question. Wombly, why do you read Down Under books?

Wombly: As an open-minded Wombat, you see, I try not to discriminate (a word here meaning point and laugh at or raise one's nose up rudely) against any kind of book, regardless of its cover art, or how many pages it has, or what genre it is, or what age group its geared toward. However, being an imperfect Wombat, I am not always open-minded. I do tend to point and laugh at certain genres, and I raise my nose up rudely at adult books at times. It's very rude of me, I assure you. But time and time again I go back to "Kid's Books," or the Down Unders, as you call them.

NaomiRuth: Why do you think that is, Wombly?

Wombly: Because they're good stories. They're interesting. They keep my attention. They're well-written. In addition, there are two other points I would like to make about Down Unders.

NaomiRuth: What is that?

Wombly: There are two kinds of Down Under books. The first kind  shows kids in normal circumstances in normal aspects of life simply being (excuse my usage of caps) ALIVE. And normal. The second kind of a Down Under story shows a young person in extraordinary events in an abnormal life experience. But you know what these two kinds of books have in common? People who are growing up, learning who they are, experiencing things for the first time. I think there is something very psychologically powerful about reading books about these growing up, coming of age, experiences. Whether those experiences are set in the present day, the past, or another world entirely, they all share in the same growing up process. There's that sameness in all stories, of growing and learning and experiencing, that we all can relate to, no matter our age.

NaomiRuth: That's probably true, but we find those same kind of themes in adult books. What makes Down Unders in particular worth reading, for adult readers?

Wombly: Adult books do, of course, tap into the experiences of growing up and learning. But there is something different about younger individuals growing up. It can remind adults of their younger selves, or their children. It helps adults keep a younger perspective. Besides, where do you think the story of Peter Pan stemmed from? There will always be adults who aren't quite ready to grow up, and these Down Under stories are just as useful to them as they are to younger readers. (I apologize for the usage of the word 'useful.' That's a dreadful boring word.)

NaomiRuth: But what about the quality of the work? Aren't older books written better? Like the classics. Those are all aimed at older readers.

Wombly: Snubmuffins! Written better, my foot. What would better be? How would that even be defined? The Classics and adult books are written just as well as those geared for Down Unders. (Who determined what was going to be a Classic anyway? Probably some old men in grey wigs from England and Massachusetts like seventy years ago.) Oftentimes Down Under books have better quality of writing. Down Unders can be a hard crowd to satisfy, book-wise. They are smart readers, who will not suffer being talked down to. The writing must hold their attention, paint a vivid enough scene that they can see but not too descriptive, so that they can still use their imagination to play around with it. These Down Under books have gotten snubbed one too many times, in my opinion.

NaomiRuth: I think it's safe to say then, that Down Under books are worth reading?

Wombly: Of course they are. And they always will be.

Wombly Reading a Down Under Book
Well! There you have it. Down Under books are most definitely worth reading. Have a wonderful week my Down Unders!

Wombly on Top of the World

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