Friday, April 20, 2012

The Comfort (or the Dullness) of Predictability

Sometimes it is comforting to pick up a book, and pretty much know how things in it are going to work out.  Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, that kind of thing (or its equivalent for the younger set).  This is what accounts for the popularity of series books that follow a particular format.  The Magic Tree House books, the A to Z Mysteries - you know what you're getting when you crack one of those open.

The flip side of this is, naturally, that sometimes knowing what is going to happen is just boring.  Having noticed that my daughter, after racing through the first six Magic Ballerina books, let the next one languish after we received it from her friend, I asked her why.  After some admittedly leading questions, she explained she was tired of them.  As a kid, I was in the other camp and loved the Nancy Drew mysteries and later, embarrassingly, the Sweet Valley High books.

Series that follow a character as she grows and changes are, of course, different, which is why my daughter still loves the Ramona series, the Little House on the Prairie books, the Fudge series and, so far, the Princess Posey books.

So what about you and your kids?  Are you lovers of formulaic series or do you find them boring?

1 comment:

  1. Everything is new to a six year old, and part of learning about reading, art, and being human, is learning that predictability exists in some contexts, and as you get older unpredictability is enjoyable.