Sunday, August 15, 2010

Where I (Guiltily) Read Muttketeer

I've finished twenty more children's books this week.
That brings me up to 383 out of 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up.
I'm in a Yahoo group where members are trying to read all 1001 children's books. 

I'm still, slowly, reading away in Three Musketeers, one of the books on the list. It is quite daunting for me to read this book. I know very little about French history. The French culture of the time confuses me. (Apparently, it was the norm for men to have a wife and a mistress.) I know almost nothing about fighting or swordplay. Luckily for me, I'm attempting to read this on my iPad, with an in-house dictionary. Very helpful.

I was discussing my difficulties with the book after a library board meeting in my town. A fellow library board member and friend is author Bill Crider, known best for his grownup mysteries and westerns. Little did I know that Bill Crider has also written Muttketeer. Muttketeer is one of the Wishbone series, a dog version of The Three Musketeers. I promptly ordered a copy. It arrived in the mail yesterday.

Reading Muttketeer might enable me to follow TTM a little better. Chapter Two includes Wishbone's Official Dictionary of Fencing and French Words You May Not Know. Chapter Three provides some useful notes about the political situation. Here's a bit:

"In those days, the city was torn between two opposing leaders, and each one wanted all the power for himself. One was Cardinal Richelieu, a man of great importance in the Church. The other one was King Louis XIII, who was served most loyally by his personal guards---the highly trained and skilled musketeers. The musketeers, of course were the Good Guys, and D'Artagnan was going to join their ranks...."

I suppose reading Muttketeer along with The Three Musketeers is a bit like using Cliff's Notes. It digests the text into manageable chunks for children and people like me, unfamiliar with the essential story.

I must say that I feel guilty, as if I am doing something wrong by doing this. I feel like I'm somehow taking the easy way out or cheating somehow. Am I? Has anyone else found ways to ease the way through classics?

What is the Sunday Salon?

Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....

That's what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual. Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book.


  1. Wishbone is the best, all my kids loved him. Good luck with your reading.Wanna Check Me Out?

  2. Ah, I absolutely love Dumas and The Three Musketeers! Definitely one of my favorite authors, so I hope it ends up working out well for you :D.

    Wishbone is great as well... I remember loving him when I was younger. I never knew that there was a Musketeers version though. The Odyssey and Rip van Winkle stories are the only ones I really remember.

  3. Thanks for the encouragement. I will work on TTM a little more today.

  4. A great weeks reading there Debbie. I've read a few of those before- I really enjoyed The Iron Man I remember. Was The Loon's Necklace good? It looks intriguing to me for some reason. Clearly Canadian. Thanks for the heads up about the Muttketeer. I've not heard of Wishbone before. But I see his videos are on youtube. I watched the first part this morning, it covered the three duels on d'Artagnan's first day. It was quite cute.

  5. I loved Iron Man; it's another book I'd suggest as a readaloud for second and third grade teachers. I was not taken with Loon's Necklace, but I'm honestly not much for Native American tales (or perhaps old Canadian American tales?)

    I added most of these titles to my list of books I want to acquire for my school library.

  6. I LOVE Wishbone and am trying to find all the videos of the novels that I read in Brit Lit as a fun way to (hopefully) entice the students to want to read the classic. Unfortunately this pursuit is proving to be much more difficult than I originally thought it would be.

  7. Wishbone...brings back memories of my daughter's childhood...The theme song "What's the story Wishbone" now ringing thru my head...Nothing to apologize for in enjoying the classics thru Wishbone :)

  8. Okay, I'm feeling a little better about reading the Wishbone version of Musketeers....It's okay to use these little helps to get me through the book.

    I'm sorry it's so hard to find the Wishbone videos, Molly. As a librarian, I've had great difficulty trying to locate Reading Rainbow videos. Maybe it's a PBS thing....

  9. OMG Wishbone! I loved Wishbone..That show aired when I was in high school or college and I was addicted to it. It was so well done. Plus I love doggies :)

    Thank you for stopping by during the Hop...I'm a new follower.

  10. Love the books you have posted here! You have amazing taste, I look forward to checking out more of your suggestions. I can't believe The Mousehole Cat is out of print, it made me so happy to see it here. And Iron Giant is one of my favorites to read aloud to older kids! I'll have to check out Tashi, he's new to me. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Hey, thank you for commenting on my blog. I'm loving all these new kidlit blogs I'm finding. They are all challenging me so much. I was such an avid reader as a kid and I thought I had experienced a lot of children's literature as an adult but there is so much stuff out there that I've missed. I can't wait to dive in.
    By the way, we watch wishbone on sunday mornings and more than a few times I've thought, so THAT's what that story was about! lol. BTW, I'm following back!


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