After I'd finished reading Lassie Come-Home to the older two children (and we'd watched the recent film version too, with me coughing over a couple of rude words!) I launched with excitement into Anne of Green Gables. It may be a bit premature; some of the language in it, especially because it's dated, is difficult for a seven year old to grasp.
The five year old gave up after one chapter, and has been having earlier nights, while I get to snuggle with my girl. I love this book, heartily. It's another that has handled several re-readings, and not just in childhood. So, how am I finding it this time? Well, I'm paraphrasing certain things, because my audience is so young, although that then trips me up if I'm not careful. And the descriptive passages are very dull to read aloud, and also add very little. I missed out half a page last night, and it made no difference to the plot, and improved my daughter's enjoyment. I know this floweriness is just what was in vogue 'back then', but there's nothing quite like learning by seeing things that work, or don't.
And speaking of that, my cynical, non-reading husband has been listening, too. He accidentally sat in on Chapter One, and I expected him to mock, but instead he laughed aloud a couple of times. LM Montgomery's sly style won him over; the sarcasm suited him down to the ground. He happened to eat dinner as we read Chapter Two and then Chapter Three; Chapter Four and Five, he hurried upstairs on an excuse, and sat and listened. I daren't mention to him that I've noticed he's enjoying it. He'd deny it to his last breath, despite the times he laughs; but I'm so gratified that he is. It's always lovely when someone hurdles a prejudice and finds that they've been missing out on things because of it.
But I'm not going to mention that, or he'll expect me to hurdle one of my prejudices, such as the one I have against flying - which, let's face it, should be firmly restricted to birds and bats and other winged things.