Christmas Carol: A Short Story - Part XXIX
Phew! We're good. We can finally unclench now -- it's all good.
As mentioned in the last entry on this topic, my
grand-stepson step-grandson -- Aargh! You know what? Let's call him Timmy. grandson-step
So, 9-year-old Timmy came to visit last week-end and he read the story in progress, which was up to 12 completed chapters by then. When he finished, he pronounced his final judgement. In his own words: "it's pretty cool."
My wife immediately responded with, "so ... 'pretty cool' only. Do you think there's something wrong with it? Can we make it 'very cool'?" His response was rather immediate: "No, no, it's very good. It's very cool!" (Yeah, verbatim. He spoke the words with an underline and all.)
A bit suspicious, imagining that he was just trying to please us, my wife prodded again: "Are you sure? You're not just saying that? Really, it won't hurt his feelings. If there is anything wrong with it, you would do us a great favor by letting us know so that we can fix it and make it even better."
"I swear. It's very, very good. I really liked it. It's just like the game!"
OK, fine. We then followed up with a brief questionnaire to gauge his interest, understanding, and estimation of particular aspects of the story. It turned out that he really got into the story, answering the questions with plenty of details and enthusiasm.
- What was your favorite part?
When Carol froze the Snowman with a snowball and ... and ... and the Ghost ran around with his arms on its head like a reindeer. That was very funny!
- What did you think of the map?
You mean Finnley's map? It's cool because you can follow it along as you read.
- What about the little girl elf at the beginning?
Trisha? She's cute. I like that she gets scared when she hears the spooky story.
- Was there any part that you didn't understand or couldn't follow?
Hmm ... nope. Not that I can think of. It was easy.
- Which one was your favorite cave?
The Candy Cove! The one with all the candy! I like that Carol went around eating candy and saving some for later. Ha! Ha!
- Would you pick this book at the library to read?
Yeah! It's kinda like Percy Jackson -- with all the adventure and monsters and all.
- How do you think Carol feels about the Ghost?
You mean, after meeting him? I think she feels he's lonely, because he doesn't have any friends. I also think that's why he's pranking the Snowman too. She probably feels sorry for him and wants to be his friend. But when she said "Hi, I'm Carol," he ran away! Ha Ha! That was kinda funny.
Call me crazy but ... it looks like he really, really liked it.
What this means is that we found our audience. My original instincts of a target readership of seven to nine year-old children was right on the money: Old enough to know how to read and follow a narrative, yet young enough to still enjoy reading for fun -- and still within that magical early childhood stage when things like elves, magical snowflakes, and evil snowmen could capture your interest and spark your imagination.
My 12 year-old nephew and his friends can then pick it up when it becomes popular and famous and achieves "Harry Potter"-like coolness. In the meantime, I'll build up a following of fourth-graders.
Phew! "Sweet candy canes!" as Carol would say, "that was scary!"
Now I know: we're good, and all is well with the world.
- carlsson likes this