Posts Tagged ‘Twilight’

Just about everyone has heard of this series. There are a few movies out and the books are best sellers. Because of this I felt it my responsibility to start reading them myself and report on my findings.

Story overview:

Seventeen-year-old Isabella Swan (Bella) decides to move in with her father. Bella’s mom, Renée, is caught up in the life of her new husband. Rather than getting in her way, Bella decides to leave the warmth of Phoenix and enter the rainy and dreary atmosphere of Washington.

It doesn’t take long for Bella to fit in with the children at her new school. In fact, they all see her as a sort of celebrity. That is, all but one boy named Edward Cullen, who stays as far away from her as possible.

Bella is infatuated with Edward and doesn’t know why he keeps his distance. In time she learns his big secret and the two of them fall in love, but this is just the beginning. Bella soon learns that the world of Edward isn’t all she bargained for.

My thoughts:

I’ve always like the idea of Vampire stories. In fact, one of my favorite animes of all time is Vampire Hunter D, and I loved the novel version too. That said, with the Twilight series, I watched the first movie and thought it was OK. When I read the book I noticed that the movie followed it pretty well, but the biggest difference is that the book is much slower. So much so that I got pretty bored with it at times. Would I recommend this to Vampire fans? Probably not; it isn’t really a Vampire story, it’s a romance novel that uses vampires to attract attention. My advice is to watch the movie and don’t bother with the book, that is, unless you are one of those who really likes romantic centered tales. I for one am not a big fan.

Things to consider:

Overall, this story is pretty clean. No major language or inappropriate sexual scenes, and other than one central fight, there really isn’t much in the way of violence. This would be appropriate for a younger audience in that regard, but the tone of the story is really geared towards teenagers. The main character is seventeen, and I would assume those around fifteen plus would be a good starting point. Targeted more towards girls than boys, I think the average boy would be too bored with the slow story pace, but I see no reason to ban this series from your kids.

Opportunities for discussion:

Obviously romance is a big part of this story. Bella falls instantly in love with Edward based, mainly, on his looks. This is the kind of Hollywood romance that many girls dream of, but is unrealistic and honestly quite shallow. Romantic attraction may be obtainable in an instant, but before one can have a real, true, and lasting love, there are a lot more things that need to be addressed. Such as the test of time. This idea that one should jump into a final stage of deep love based on a few romantic feelings is one of the many lies bombarding our youth today; people often end up feeling discontented later in life from the decisions they made early on. Bella made Edward the center her life after a few short weeks, but in reality no human should become our totality. Everyone is flawed, and unrealistic expectations of our partner are one of the main causes of divorce and separations today. The statistics of broken relationships have never been higher, and Hollywood isn’t helping. True fulfillment can only be obtained when a person restores the gap between them and their creator, not by pushing these impossible expectations onto another flawed person. It isn’t fair to either party. Share this message with your youth; tell them your own experience with love and how it really works in the “really real world.”

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Gahoole_Capture_b1In my search for popular children’s books I came across the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series. Currently, it appears there are fifteen books and a September 24, 2010 movie scheduled to be released.

The author, Kathy Lasky has written more than fifty fiction and nonfiction books for children and young adults. She is quoted as saying, “I want young readers to come away with a sense of joy for life. I want to draw to them into a world where they’re really going to connect with these characters.”

For the most part she achieves this with The Capture.

Story overview:

A young Barn Owl named Soren finds himself falling from the warm nest of his parents only to land at the bottom of the tree. Unfortunately for Soren, his parents were out hunting for food. Only his little sister, unhelpful (& deceiving) brother, and blind snake-servant remained.

Soren is captured by an Owl patrol and taken to St. Aegolius’ Academy for Orphaned Owls. It did not matter that Soren wasn’t really an orphan because, as he discovers, the Academy’s true aim is to conquer the Owl kingdoms. Soren learns of the true horrors of Moon Blinking—which destroys an Owl’s free will—hard labor, punishment for asking questions, and the terror of Owls who yield to Vampire Bats.

With the help of his Elf Owl friend named Gylfie—and a few un-blinked Owls at the Academy—Soren escapes. They are joined by a male Great Grey Owl named Twilight, who helps both Soren and Gylfie to find their homes, but unfortunately they have been deserted. Now a new and greater adventure lies ahead.

My thoughts:

There is a slight Redwall‘ish feeling to this tale; if you like one you may like the other. For some odd reason newly born Owls have an instant British vocabulary, but overall it is a cute and charming adventure. Personally, I got bored with it. My attention kept dropping off and the events seemed to drag on longer than I would have liked. However, I think the right audience would love it. Particularly those who are between 6 to 12 (six to twelve) years old.

Things to consider:

As mentioned under my thoughts, I think this is appropriate for children between six and twelve, and for both girls and boys. Note that any youth beyond tweens runs the risk of becoming bored with it. However, I do want to caution that there are a few disturbing situations that may be considered frightful to some children. Off the top of my head these are: vampire bats drinking the blood of willing Owls, a few violent deaths, and a horrific act of Cannibalism. Overall this is a clean story, and is free from any sexual references or profanity.

Opportunities for discussion:

The theme of brainwashing is fairly dominant here; such as moon blinking and the restriction of asking questions. Yet belief is also mentioned (in a positive way) when talking about the legends of Ga’Hoole. It is easy for the world to relate Christianity to brainwashing, and granted in some cases there are brainwashed Christians, however this is not the intended path of believers. Brainwashing comes from conforming without testing or questioning, but it is the job of the believer to understand where he or she stands. We believe in individuality, not conformity. We all have unique gifts, personalities, and ways of looking at things. This is why the Bible talks about people being a different part of the same body. A discussion topic for your child would be to ask them what they believe makes them unique. Ask them what beliefs they hold onto, and then ask them if there are any questions they would like to share with you. Then be willing to listen and respond (non-condescendingly.)