Monday, May 16, 2011

Suburbs of Our Discontent

My nine-year-old daughter and I are having an intense experience with Puck.

Specifically, we are obsessed with Michael Buckley's eight-book series, The Sisters Grimm, in which Puck figures as a main character. I'm reading all of them aloud to her, and we're almost at the end of Book Four. We spent a long, long time reading over this rainy weekend.

Buckley's Puck is like Shakespeare's in many ways: he's a Trickster King who hangs out with Titania and Oberon.

BUT--and here's the thing--Buckley's Puck is a horny adolescent with his sights set on human girls. On the one hand, this characterization is authentic. Shakespeare's Puck derives from folklore of a "Robin Goodfellow," a lusty sprite doing a jig across the English countryside. The visual above pretty much says it all.

On the other hand, Buckley's Puck is doing things like tongue-kissing my daughter's favorite character, the spunky 11-year-old Sabrina. In Book Four, we are taken deep into the newly hormonally-charged mind of young Sabrina, which is eliciting my daughter's disgust and fascination. Like a good parent, I am of course encouraging the former response by making "yuck" faces whenever Puck flirts with Sabrina.

It's not that I'm trying to interfere with her natural curiosity; it's just that Puck is filthy and rude and completely disobeys his parents. He's the boyfriend who's gonna corrupt your precious child. Check out the movie A Midsummer Night's Rave or The Donkey Show if you want to see what I mean.

1 comment:

  1. My almost 10-year-old has read all the Sisters' Grimm books and eagerly awaits each new one.

    My six-year-old is enchanted by the Rainbow Fairy books, a chapter book series from Scholastic. Two mortal girls have to come to the aid of King Oberon and Queen Titania of Fairyland and help the various fairies (color fairies, pet fairies, gem fairies, weather fairies) defeat Jack Frost. In the last Rainbow Fairy book, a magical character named Tom Goodfellow appears. My eavesdropping 9-year-old immediately got the reference.