Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Books and bridges

Archer's GT teacher found the perfect book for him to bring home for his nightly independent reading.  It's The Cardturner by the prolific Louis Sachar, best known for Holes but best-loved in Archer's room for Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School.

The Cardturner is about a boy who plays bridge with his blind uncle and aims to compete in the national championships.  The first detail about his day that Archer volunteered to me this afternoon was that Ms. Haynes gave him this book to bring home.  The second detail was the book's basic premise.  And the third details was that certain sections are marked with a whale.

Archer explained that the protagonist uses whales as markers because he once "zoned out" while reading a book whenever the author started giving facts about whales.  (The book was Moby Dick, as I ascertained from Archer later.)  So he decided to mark the passages in his book that are about how to play bridge with whales, so that readers who might zone out during those parts can easily skip them.

Naturally those parts are Archer's favorites, along with any description of a game.  Just now he skipped into the room after doing his reading for the night laughing hysterically at a round of bidding by the protagonist's amateur friends -- the first bid is made out of order, and then the protagonist's partner responds to his bid of 1 heart with 6 spades.  It's enough to make Archer helpless with amusement.

I'm always on the lookout for books that I think will jibe with Archer's game-focused, school-centric, and stat-obsessed worldview.  It's great to be introduced to a new one, and to know that some of his teachers can identify texts to which he's likely to respond.

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