The boys laughed uproariously as I read aloud again from Funny Business after dinner tonight. This time the story was "Artemis Begins" by Eoin Colfer. Though we have only three boys in our house in comparison to the five his mother enjoyed, certainly there have been broken objects, secrets kept, and interesting stories concealed from this mother as well. Not one of my sons compares to Eoin's brother Donal in the ability to blackmail others or to devise a devious plan.
The story should be read aloud to any child who admires Artemis Fowl to provide the background information about that character's creation. More than that, it should be read aloud because it provides all the essentials of an engaging story: incredible suspense, foreshadowing, larger-than-life characters, and a climax at the top of the family staircase. When Eoin's baby brother Niall asks, "What's the signal?" our dining room table erupted with guffaws. My boys knew what was coming. Their eyes were on me. They could not believe this little brother had not a clue what his older brother Donal was going to do. They listened to it happen, groaning in sympathy while laughing at Niall's naivete.
The power of reading aloud never ceases to amaze, whether at home around the dinner table or at school on the story steps. No matter what the listener's age, the sound of a human voice reading aloud beckons to a listener, brings calm to the spirit, invites a sharing of emotions, and provides a point of reference. The experience is one thing that is on my gratitude list every day.