Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Book lover

My son loves the Shiloh trilogy of books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Just loves them. Loves them beyond all logic. For a kid who has about a 30-second attention span for all but a handful of obsessions, he can converse on Shiloh at length, apply life lessons from the book to other situations, and sit still, rapt with attention, for chapters upon chapters. As a big reader myself, I'm thrilled to see a book take such a strong hold on a youngster, even if, well, maybe, from time to time, we could, like, read a different book? No? Okay.

He's been on a particular Shiloh kick lately, dropping observations about evil Judd Travers and noble young Marty and the sweet beagle that one of them abused and the other saved. This is fine when he's talking to me, because I know what he's talking about, and the things he says make sense. But it can take other folks by surprise. Like Sunday, when we were down at the animal shelter looking for a prospective pet of our own. As we took one little pooch on a get-to-know-you walk with a shelter volunteer, my guy started talking about how mean Judd Travers was to his dogs, and how he chained them up, and yelled at them, and kicked them, and starved them, and hunted out of season. The volunteer's eyes got wider and wider until she asked me, "Is this a real person he's talking about?" She was pretty much ready to call the police on this scumbag, and was relieved to hear that he was a fictional scumbag, and one who got plenty of comeuppance. Maybe now she'll seek out the Shiloh books, for herself or her children, and my son will have passed on his passion. Or else she'll make some secret "nut-job" notation on our application to ensure that the closest we get to a real dog is a well-thumbed paperback.

No comments: