Monday, November 14, 2011

The Egypt Game

Have you read The Borrower yet? If not, stop now and I'll wait for you to go out and read it.
So now that you're back (or if you're one of the lucky few who's already read the book), then you know that the Rebecca Makkai weaves dozens of children's books into the story's narrative--The Phantom Tollbooth, Charlotte's Web, Matilda, the Narnia series, Madeline, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and Choose Your Own Adventure series are just a few examples. The references are often subtle, unnoticeable if you don't know the books themselves. Sometimes, though, Makkai specifically mentions books by name, and The Egypt Game was one of them. I had never read this book before, so I had no time to waste.

It's a perfectly good book about children creating an imaginary world in the fenced-in yard behind the city antique shop, but reading the book now showed me how important it is to read children's book as a child. No matter how many children's books I read now, my viewpoint and imagination is that of an adult. I'm struck by things like the lack of description and the gaps in time and character complexity. But that's less important to a child. Then, I didn't want to be bogged down with details, and my imagination was eager to fill in the gaps left by the author.

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