When we got back from the States, there was a copy of The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge waiting for us. I’d signed up to review it for the Mother-Talk book tour, and knowing that it would be best tested on my nine-year-old son, I asked him if I could start to read it to him. It was six o’clock in the morning.
He was unenthusiastic at first, but then I read a bit from the book flap. “Says here it’s like a cross between Spiderman and X-Men.” He perked up. And then we sat down to read a few chapters.
“Read another chapter,” he said. And then, that evening, “Can you read Daniel X to me?” He was exhausted from jet lag, but he still wanted to hear about Daniel, the super-powered alien hunter, whose parents were brutally murdered by The Prayer. (I was worried about this part, but it wasn’t quite as disturbing to him as the death of Babar’s mother had been a few years back.) He laughed at the funny parts, didn’t get grossed out when girls appeared as love interests, and asked questions when he didn’t understand. There have been some teachable moments to be sure. For example, having been raised in Japan, he didn’t know what drug dealers were, but now he knwos that they’re bad.
My son is still developing his reading skills in English, and I’m happy to report that he made a lot of progress over the summer. Maybe by the time the next book in the series comes out, he’ll be able to read on his own. For now, I’m intent on showing him that even books without pictures (i.e. the manga he so loves) can be wildly entertaining.
We haven’t quite finished reading, but so far, so good. Jio is in fact so interested, that he took it upon himself to read the press materials that came with the book. Tonight we’ll be reading a few more chapters. And then, quite possibly, we’ll be lining up to see the movie.
And James Patterson, if you’re reading this, I’ve noticed that you write a lot of books with other people. I’d like you to consider me for future collaborations. I’m willing to write about beach houses or ghosts, or maybe even aliens. And it’s okay if your name on the book cover is bigger than mine.