Time-out for adventure? A thought or two… and a quick book review

May 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm Leave a comment

The other day, I was teaching some exuberant third grade girls all about The Hero’s Journey. A little ambitious, I know. 

As usual, “the refusal of the call” was the toughest part of “the journey” to convey. I explained that it’s the part of the story when the hero is faced with the chance for adventure; however, because it takes him out of his comfort zone, he doesn’t really want to do it. After a short while talking about what makes a character’s comfort zone, we set out to write our stories. 

“My character is going to be a girly-girl. She likes makeup and nice clothes,” announced Mioko.

“Girly-girl” is definitely a comfort zone for this third grader–so much so that I didn’t have the heart to point out the unladylike pizza stain on her pretty green jumper as she went on to describe her story: “The hero’s purse is going to fall into a hole in the ground and she’s gonna have to decide whether to mess up her hair and go get it in Sportland…” (Where, naturally, she’ll have to play a sweaty game of soccer to get the purse back.)

Not bad for a third grader, right? 

Now as a child, I didn’t know much of anything about “girly-girl.” When I was three, I asked for a football helmet. My comfort zone involved Star Wars figures battling Strawberry Shortcake for domination of the mud hole underneath the kitchen window. I loved all things NOT girly-girl.

Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site

See NY Times Bestseller Sherri Rinker at Scribble Press UWS tomorrow at 4 p.m.!

 So imagine my delight to learn about “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site,” a clever book by Sherri Rinker that brings the anti-girly-girls back to their comfort zone when it’s time to go to bed. After all, as my sister walked the periphery of the bedroom giving the dolls delicate kisses goodnight, I was battening the hatches, hunkering down for a night on watch, ready to battle the evil armies of tarantulas that were set to attack my bed as soon as the lights went out.  That or I was using my gargantuan Barbie camper as the getaway vehicle in a Hall of Justice take-over. Yes, getting me to go to sleep was itself a hero’s journey. The point is, no ordinary bedtime story with bunnies or moons was going to cut it.

While Rinker’s book may not be the perfect story for a child preparing for an epic arachnid war (“Get the F—k to Sleep” by Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortés might have been more up my parents’ alley), “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site” is an amazing alternative for the energetic child who just wants to spend bedtime yelling VROOOM!  

Whether your child is a girly-girl, a dump truck kid, or a mix of the two, find bedtime books that speak to him/her. Remember that going to sleep is a hero’s journey. And as Mioko’s protagonist dreaded Sportsland, it is your child’s job to refuse the call.

So, be the Mentor. Guide the journey.  And if it helps, bring a dump truck.

Come meet Sherri Rinker and get a copy of “Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site” this Wednesday at 4 p.m., Scribble Press UWS.

-Jennifer Sarja

Entry filed under: Book Review, Teach and Mentor. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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