Our fourth geographical area for our readaloud PaperTigers Reading Challenge book this month is the Americas and we chose Deborah Ellis’ I Am a Taxi. I was slightly concerned that it might prove too much for Little Brother (aged 7): but by making sure that we read the last few chapters during week-end morning “book sessions” rather than at bedtime, we had plenty of discussion time (drugs…) and no nightmares! Diego, the book’s 11-year-old hero, became a real person to my two boys. They absorbed details about Bolivia; they compared details of Diego’s life with their own; and they goggled at the encounters with nature in the jungle. It was salutary for me to observe that they did not really pick up on the sinister side to Smith until it was completely obvious, but trusted him as someone who was kind to Diego, which in the immediacy of dealing with jungle beasties, he was. This did, however, make the climax particularly shocking for them. It is a book that I think they will both pick up and read for themselves in a few years’ time – for now, it has been a very exciting readaloud for us all.
Napí is about a little girl called Napí who loves to dream. She is a Mazateca Indian from Mexico. She likes herons and I think it’s beautiful when it says the trees bloomed with herons and it’s also quite funny. Napí often dreams she’s become a heron. The river dresses itself in different colours. The river smiles up at her and the rocks on the riverbank form teeth. In her dream she was followed by the moon and carried by the river and the moon had a face and the river had hands. The pictures had all the colours I know and some I didn’t. They are so spectacular! I give it 10/10!
These adventure stories are all set in the Australian Bush. I liked the book because all the stories had animals in them – a snake, a dingo and a hermit crab – as I love animals and it’s wonderful to me to be reading about wild animals in Australia. My favourite story was about a young boy who had to wait four full moons until his parents came to pick him up from his grandparents but he decides he wants to get home sooner and runs away. On his way he meets some buffalos and he wakes up to find a snake slithering across his chest. He wanted to run but he heard his father’s voice telling him to stay really still.
So, we have but one more book to go in our Reading Challenge 2008… We’ve been taking it gently but I would say there’s still time to leap in there; and at the end of the month, be ready to tell us your final booklists. We can’t wait to hear from you!