Monday, July 26, 2010

Catch 'em all

Parenting is nothing if not a constant stream of new situations. As your children grow up and develop new interests, hobbies, and personality traits, you find yourself in neverending research mode. What are the best books, websites, or activities to engage a child who has latched onto something particular in her environment? Most of us have no way to know from direct experience; the choices were all different during our upbringing, and even having an older child doesn't help much given the variety of interests available, especially if the genders are different.

I've asked you readers a variety of questions over the last few years about what books or hobbies Archer might enjoy given various obsessions he's developed. Now it's finally Cady Gray's turn. She's got an obsession of her very own: Pokemon.

It's a subset or offshoot of her love for comics. I've given her various manga, and the Pokemon Diamond and Pearl Adventure series seems to fire her up more than any other. She rattles off the Pokemon used in each story, describes their characteristics and attacks, and gets very concerned about irregular play. (She's started watching the TV show too, which is shown on Boomerang.) The key seems to be the collecting, categorizing, and sports aspects of the premise.

I'd like to help her branch out into other manga with related themes. That might help her form a bridge to manga with different premises. My research has gotten me excited about the Hikaru No Go series, which I think even Archer might like; and Cardcaptor Sakura seems like a natural fit for a Pokemon fan. But a lot of the websites I looked at turned up their noses at Pokemon and were eager to demonstrate to skeptics that most manga is nothing like it. My efforts to discover some logical next steps for a Pokemon lover weren't as fruitful as I would have thought given Pokemon's ubiquity in popular culture.

Some of you are big manga folk, I know. And some of the rest of you might have non-manga suggestions for where to take Cady Gray's Poke-love. If you have ideas, leave me a comment!

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