Monday, July 29, 2013

Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood

Last week a couple of my kids were in our local childrens theater production of Winnie the Pooh. My oldest (14 yo) was Pooh and my third child (10 yo) was in the ensemble as Pooh's tummy and a bee.


I loved this play. It was short, simple, funny yet heartwarming, and really took me back to my childhood. I actually teared up watching Pooh and Christopher Robin on that stage where their biggest problem was finding time to play together.

As someone who writes science fiction / dystopian / futuristic books for teens, my stories tend to be on the serious side where the entire world is in jeopardy. I like to go big. Of course this also serves as a backdrop to smaller conflicts my characters face, but for the most part it alludes to heavier issues. As I scan my bookshelf, I can't find any novels that have simple plots with not so serious problems to solve. Even the light happy romances have characters with a troubled past or other issues.

Is this a reflection of my tastes in books? What teens have to face today? I know tension is what keeps those pages turning and every book must have conflict, but why can't that conflict be something simpler like helping Eeyore find his tale? What do you think?



19 comments:

Suzanne Furness said...

I definitely think books for today's kids are far more sophisticated and 'gritty' than any of the stuff we read at their age. But then I don't think we had the choice of literature they have. I grew up with authors such as Enid Blyton. Looking back at the characters in those type of books they were far less complex, almost stereotypical in some cases.

Looks like you had lots of fun with the Winnie The Pooh play.

T. Drecker said...

I think that there's simply more available in general to kids today, and that 'borders' are more easily crossed today than they used to be. But I doubt kids have changed. It's the simply, lovable stories that kids love best :)

T. Drecker said...

Oh - BTW - you kids look adorable!!! (Although your daughter won't want to hear that ;) )

Light House Plays said...

Due to lots of disturbances, kids nowadays wont like to read books. They would prefer to surf in the internet all day long, play video games, and watch TV. So, as parents we should find ways to bring their interest on books.

Also, Children theater plays
is one of the best hobbies to have and to endorse to our kids. :)

Mark Koopmans said...

I actually laughed out loud (I don't *LOL* on principle :) when I read Suzanne's comment as I, too, am a child of Enid Blyton (not in the Biblical sense, of course:)

My oldest is six, so he's just discovering the world of adventure that are books without (many) pictures and I hope he follows that silly bear and his friends for as long as is possible...

PS: Kudos to your kids for getting involved in something that must have been fun (and didn't require a reset or a recharge :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Interesting! Never thought of it in terms of simpler plots. I guess mine are a bit heavy as well.
Congratulations to your kids!

Donna K. Weaver said...

What fun! My kids were more into the Disney cartoons than the Pooh books, but how awesome to get to become immersed in a favorite fantasy world.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

As a kid, i read "dark" stuff, but I also read the Little House books, the Anne of Green Gables books and the Betsy Tacy series. It's sort of the same for me now - I'll read something creepy then go read a Maeve Binchy novel. :)

David P. King said...

Sweet! That would've been an adorable show. Looks like your chillins had a good time. :

Cortney Pearson said...

How fun! I think it's all about what your kids get exposed to, and that determines the type of story that's going to *do it* for them. My kids are still little and so they love simple stories like Pooh, so I hope when they get older and exposed to other types of things the appreciation for simplicity won't die away just because it's not as gritty as what's out there now.

Tammy Theriault said...

Your kids are adorable !! Yes if only conflict were that easy!! Eeyore it's at my house.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

How proud you must have been seeing your children up on that stage! Today's YA fiction reflects the harsh world we have to live in today where we are not able to shield our children as were once upon a time.

Leigh Covington said...

So cute! I love Winnie the Pooh! In fact, in high school, me and my 3 best buds all had nicknames from that show. :D

Robin said...

YA def. deals with bigger issues today that it did when I was a teen. I remember reading about a girl with an eating disorder and thinking how major that was. Now I'd barely bat and eye with all the "other" heavy issues. Still, sometimes I need light, happy, help Eeroye find his tail books, so I'm glad some writers still focus on those. That said, I'm sure glad you write what you do because I eat it up!

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

I love light stuff and gritty stuff if it's well written and I love the characters. :)
And I love Winnie the Pooh. :)

Celesta said...

Gah! My kids and I almost went to see that production of Winnie the Pooh, but didn't make it. And now I find out your kids were in it! Would've made a bigger effort had I known that. I'm so glad they had fun in the show. As a theater performer myself, I believe in the power of participating in the storytelling. For kids and young adults who enjoy acting, this is a great way to experience all different themes and conflicts, including ones not reflected in most modern literature. I love the gentler ones like Eeyore's tail and Pooh's search for "hunny". What a fantastic way to spend the summer!

jaybird said...

Winnie the Pooh is timeless. I love him! Your kids look adorable. How awesome.

YES! I think kids today are faced with and are exposed to SO much more than I ever was. And the book contents in YA really reflect this change.

Carrie Butler said...

Someone has to sing it. It might as well be me. ;)

♫ Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh...

A tubby, little cubby all stuffed with fluff! ♫

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Wow, what a question! I've been trying to find simpler plots for my stories, but they always end up more complicated than I planned. I think part of it is the novel format. It's too difficult to sustain a simple story in such a long format. Short stories and children's stories make that much easier.