After years of repetitions of Curious George, Roald Dahl titles and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (all of which I loved), I miss reading aloud to our boys.  Everyone is too old now, except 12-year-old Malcolm – on rare occasions.

He’s currently rushing to finish The Hobbit before the end of school, and 40 pages of reading piled up over the weekend.  Last night he needed my help, which I was more than happy to give.  We stretched out in a quiet bedroom, and the reading began.

Reading aloud takes skill.  It’s important to modulate your voice, so you don’t become a monotonous drone.  At several points, as Malcolm’s eyes closed, I feared he had fallen asleep.  I paused to assess the situation and his lids flew open.  “Mom!  I’m just imagining what’s happening!”

We happened to be reading the exciting conclusion, when Bilbo figures out how to open the hidden stone door.  Malcolm is very fond of the homesick Mr. Baggins, who left his hidey-hole without his hankie and was whisked away on a wild, dangerous adventure without fully understanding the scope of it.  He chuckles empathetically at the descriptions of Bilbo poking his head into the dragon’s lair, or fretting with homesickness.  He anticipates that the dragon will instantly notice what Bilbo has taken from his stash, and tsk-tsks at the greed of the beast, hoarding all that gold without any use for it.

I’ve loved reading a few chapters, here and there, of The Hobbit to Malcolm.  It’s a book we’re discovering together.  And I will miss it when, in a few short pages, it is over.


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