30 March 2016

Kolby's Book Report -- Les Miserables

Our family has been on a little Les Mis kick lately -- Michael & I both grew up listening to the music from the musical and we've always loved it -- it's such a moving story, and the music is just beautiful.  When I was about 12 I tried to read the book, but I didn't make it very far in before I gave up -- all I really remember is a lot of French words.  So now I've been listening to the unabridged audio book in my car since January, and I'm almost done (I'm on disk 47 out of 51 as of today).  It's pretty long, and there are a number of parts that delve into a lot of details about historical information that can go on and on a bit, but I love the storyline about the characters and the author's style of descriptive writing.  And I found out that a local high school was putting on the musical, so our whole family went to see it on Saturday and really enjoyed it.  The kids have been listening to parts of the audio book along with me, here and there, as they are in and out of the car -- so they haven't been present to listen to the entire book, but they have followed along.  Between the audio book and the musical they have picked up quite a bit of the story.

So about a month ago Kolby asked if he could read the book.  I wondered if it would be difficult for him to get through it, but I told him I would get him a copy of it from the library anyway.  I picked up an abridged copy for him -- the 800 page version -- to give him more of a chance that he might be able to make it through the book.  But I remembered when I tried to read it when I was about his age, and I figured he probably wouldn't get too far into it.  After reading just a bit of it, Kolby came home from school one day and announced that he was doing a book report on Les Mis.  I told him that was a cool idea (and I figured I'd let him try, but he might have to switch to a different book after a little while).  But he started reading, and just kept going.  It helped that a couple weeks ago he had a low grade fever (and very few other symptoms) for 7 days straight, so he had to stay home from school, but he wasn't so sick that he couldn't do anything -- so he spent days reading.  (Not only has he read the book, but he totally comprehends most of what he's readying too -- I admit it, I totally underestimated him).

He was trying to come up with a creative idea for a book report project, and considered a stop-motion animation video, but I told him there was no way he'd have enough time to read that whole book and then make a stop-motion video too before the report was due.  So he decided to do a time lapse video instead.  I helped him out by being his camera man, but he figured out the rest on his own.  He taught himself how to use the iMovie program to add the video clips, make voice-overs, add music, and adjust the timing and transitions to make it all fit together.  Kolby has worked long and hard on this video, and I think it turned out so well!  But what I love the most is how much fun we had going to the musical together, and how much he has loved reading this really good book.

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