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Paging Summer

The Seven-Cent Advance

For most of us, assigned summer reading is a distant memory. For the TMN writers’ children, however, it’s time to crack the books—and inform us about scary bits, cover designs, and authors’ advances.

Olivia, age 7
Book CoverA Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

What happens in the book?
There’s a girl named Sarah and at first she is rich but when her daddy dies she is not anymore.

What is your favorite thing about the book?
My favorite thing was when she talked to the rat.

If you could change one thing about this book to make it better, what would it be?
Her daddy wouldn’t die.

How much do you think the writer got paid?
Ten dollars.

If you met the book’s author on the playground, what game do you think would be the most fun to play with her?
I’d ask her to play “Guess My Favorite Book.” [When asked, “What is your favorite book?” Olivia answered, “A Little Princess and Lemony Snickett.”—eds.]

Do you think the author wanted you to learn something?
You shouldn’t be like Miss Minchin.
 

Toby, age 5

Book CoverThe Giant Jam Sandwich, story and pictures by John Vernon Lord, verses by Janet Burroway

What does the cover make you think of?
The cover makes me think of—it’s like a field, it looks like a field. It’s quite messy.

What happens in the book?
Um… [long pause] they make a trap for the wasps. And the waps—wasps—don’t come back.

Was there anything you didn’t like about the book?
I didn’t like the bit when the man fell in the pastry.

How much do you think the writer got paid to write the book?
Hundreds. About 1,000? No, 10 pounds.

If you could change one thing about this book to make it better, what would it be?
If they had had more tractors. And if they had a bigger oven. And if they had a bigger church.

If you met the book’s authors on the playground, what games do you think they would like to play?
I might act the whole story. And then they could pretend they were on a scooter, dipping it in the jam.

Do you think the authors wanted you to learn something?
Don’t know.

Really? How to make a wasp trap?
How to make a wasp trap?

Would you catch a wasp with a jam sandwich?
[amused] Noooo.

So how would you catch a wasp?
I would get it and try and kill it.



Simon, age 4

Book CoverMy Father’s Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett

What happens in the book?
The little boy finds the dragon.

What is your favorite thing about the book?
I liked the dragon because it was cute.

What didn’t you like?
I didn’t like the whale because it had sharp teeth.

Do you think the author wanted you to learn something?
No screaming.

What would your teacher think about this book?
That it was too scary.

If you met the book’s author on the playground, what game do you think would be the most fun to play with her?
I’d want to play hide and seek, and I would hide first.

How much do you think the writer got paid?
Seven cents.



Iris, age 7

Book CoverPercy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan

What happens in the book?
He is the son of the sea god.

What was your favorite thing about it?
He had to take a quest.

Do you think the author wanted you to learn something?
Yes. Don’t make the gods mad.

What does the cover make you think of?
New York.

How much do you think the writer got paid to write the book?
$50.



Henry, age 11

Book CoverThe Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins

What does the cover make you think of?
A bird fleeing from a cage.

What happens in the book?
The hunger games are an event where candidates from 12 different districts go to the capital. They then go in to the arena and fight each other to the death. Katniss is the girl from district 12, and a boy named Peeta is the boy from district 12. They have a fake romance to gain the help of sponsors. The games are shown on TV and you are required by law to watch them. The capital shows the hunger games to show the districts to not rebel. There was an uprising and district 13 was destroyed. Katniss doesn’t know it but she is starting an uprising of her own.

What was your favorite thing about it?
I loved the action scenes when they are in the arena.

Do you think the author wanted you to learn something?
The author was trying to send the message that fighting for freedom is OK.

If you met the book’s author on the playground, what game do you think would be the most fun to play?
The Hunger Game, of course. And I want the bow-and-arrow.



Raimi, age 7

Book CoverRapunzel’s Revenge, by Shannon and Dean Hale, illustrated by Nathan Hale

What’s it about?
It’s about a girl that gets trapped in a tree tower. And her hair gets longer and finally she grabs onto a nearby tree. She climbs down the branches and gracefully lands on the forest floor. She meets up with a man, gets some new clothes, and they defeat Mother Gothel by breaking magic glass.

What was your favorite part?
The swinging wheels of fire.

What was your least favorite part?
The part where she got trapped in the tower.

What would your teacher think about this book?
It’s violent.

How much do you think the author got paid?
Twenty dollars and 20 stars.

Continue Reading

TMN’s Contributing Writers know where to find the purple couch. Long live the pan flute, mini mafia, and Michael Jackson. More by The Writers