Today there was a small package for me in the mail from France. When I saw the word “Euro” on the paper I started to get really excited. Who did I know in Europe that was sending me a present? It turns out that it was my own idiocy mailing me a surprise.
In my planning for my Reading List Inspired By SLE Part 3 I had tried to order and “easy reader” version of Balzac’s Pere Goriot. What I had unintentionally ordered was in fact, written in French! This is really disappointing because it means that there is no kiddie version of Balzac currently available for children in English.
I really don’t understand this at all, because Old Goriot is the perfect text for modern times. It’s about and older man living a comfortable life in retirement until he gives away so much of his pension to his grown daughters that he ends up impoverished. I bet every person reading this post knows of at least one baby-boomer family that this is happening to.
So if I can’t find an authentic kiddie version of Balzac to read to my kids, then I need to think of another book that expresses the same message. The first title that comes to mind is Shel Silverstein’s classic The Giving Tree. My grandma already owns this, so the next time we visit her at Merrill Gardens I’ll ask to borrow it.
Another central message in Le Pere Goriot is the fickleness of fashion. Many of the main characters in the book waste a ton of money on clothes, because this is how society judges them. So I need to find a book for kids that expresses how hard (and morally corrupt) it is to be judged on your wardrobe instead of your character. Any suggestions?
P.S. Does anyone want a book in French? It could be my blog’s first give-away. 🙂