Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Calling all kids, or Fowl play

As promised earlier this week, I've started Eoin Colfer's first Artemis Fowl novel, Artemis Fowl. Though the news may be old hat to young readers, the novel is a delightful blend of police procedural, science fiction and fantasy.

Here's my favorite bit so far, with a question to follow:

"Holly Short was lying in bed, silently fuming. Nothing unusual about this. Leprechauns in general were not known for their geniality. But Holly was in an exceptionally bad mood, even for a fairy. Technically she was an elf, fairy being a general term. She was a leprechaun, too, but that was just a job."
Anyone who can squeeze world-weary fictional-cop attitude into a paragraph about elves and fairies need not rely on the other world for magic. We adult readers can enjoy the knowing weary-cop reference. The question of the day is: Do young readers get references like that, too, or do they just enjoy the story because it's so much fun? In more general terms, does a book that appeals to children and adults alike appeal to both groups in the same ways?

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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7 Comments:

Blogger Linkmeister said...

I can't answer the general question, but I remember reading that and thinking "so leprechaun is a job, not a race or ethnicity? I'll be darned!"

September 13, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

The kicker is that the "leprechaun is a job line," as funny as it is, is no mere throwaway. There is an amusing explanation for it, but you'll have to read the book to find it.

By the way, I tried to post another comment on yout Golden Gloves post, but I got a message that no comments were permitted? Is there a technical problem?

September 13, 2007  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

It may have run into my "close comments after X days" instruction; it's a spam-fighting tool. I'll double-check, thanks.

September 13, 2007  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Yeah, that's what it was. I re-opened them for your (and subsequent others) comments.

September 13, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

OK, thanks. I'll drop back in. Is it ironic that a time-driven tool barred from posting a baseball comment? Baseball, it has been often (and wrongly) said is the only sport that has never been governed by a clock.

September 13, 2007  
Anonymous Ann said...

I don't think children and adults read the books in the same way. But it's great that my children and I can enjoy the same books. Your quote there has made me want to re-read Artemis, and I just haven't got the time!

September 15, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Thanks for the comment. I'm sure children and adults don't read the same stories the same way. It would be interesting to talk to some young Artemis readers now, then again in a few years to hear what they have to say.

I was really thinking about one specific feature of Artemis Fowl when I posted my comment: the media-savvy fun Eoin Colfer has with some hoary old features of genre fiction, TV and movies. Another such feature is a scene in which Holly Short's hard-bitten commander gives her a bit of grudging admiration. It would be easy to assume that this is a bit of fun that kids might not recognize. But children may be more media-savvy than I think, so who knows?

September 15, 2007  

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