Lately I've been feeling wistful and nostalgic for the good ol' days of waiting for the next Harry Potter book. Waiting for the next movie just isn't the same, though I am looking forward to that, too (Half Blood Prince is expected to be released next summer). Reading the series out loud to my children, over the better part of the past decade, has been one of our most treasured family activities, and I do miss that. Of all the books I've enjoyed reading to my children since DoRena and Zachary were little, none have been quite as much fun, or quite as riveting for all of us, as the Harry Potter books. The completion of the seventh book in 2007 was like the end of an era.
I'm not done reading out loud to my children, however. In addition to the books I read to myself for the sake of preaching and teaching and ongoing self-education, I'm always on the look out for good books to read to my family. Whenever I find a good series, I love it, because it means there will be a sequel for us to enjoy next, rather than simply the bittersweet beautiful goodbye of a story ending.
Not long ago, I read the last book (so far) in The Edge Chronicles, by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. We have nine books in that series, and I don't know if there will be any more or not. As I recall, we first discovered those books while we were waiting for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, because we were hungry for something to wile away the waiting. What a great discover The Edge Chronicles turned out to be. They're witty and clever, engaging and fun. My children and I have all thoroughly enjoyed them. No, they're not as profound as Harry Potter, and I have no intentions of looking for deep theological significance in them, but I've simply reveled in the creativity, inventiveness and literary craftsmanship in these books. I've occasionally likened The Edge Chronicles to a cross between Lewis Carroll and Dr. Seus. I suppose they're aimed at adolescents, but, as I say, we've all enjoyed them immensely together.
Now we're in the midst of reading Peter and the Shadow Thieves, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. This is the sequel to Peter and the Starcatchers, which I read to the children several years ago. There's already a third book in the series, Peter and the Secret of Rundoon. These books are all part of a creatively imagined and semi-humorous pre-history to the classic story of Peter Pan. The first book was fun (I remember reading it on our vacation to Nebraska and Texas back in 2004), but I think we're all enjoying Peter and the Shadow Thieves even more. The authors have really done a nice job with these stories, in a way that is respectful of the original without attempting to mimic it or following its details slavishly. I'm already looking forward to reading the third book, once we've finished the one we're in the middle of.