Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A Pop-Up Genghis?

While driving to Minnesota for the holidays, Sherry, Chandler, and I listened to Books 3 and 4 of the Ranger's Apprentice series (a collection of fantastic books, BTW).  The author, John Flanagan, is basically rewriteing the world during the Middle Ages or thereabouts.  He's renamed the countries but borrowed heavily from the histories of those nations, as well as the wars and conflicts.

In Book 4, The Battle for Skandia, Flanagan introduces his version of the Mongols invading his version of the Vikings.  Chandler has gotten intensely interested in history and understanding how all the various peoples fit together at various times.  I love that because I majored in history and English, and I love the excursions into the past.

While we were talking, I mentioned that I believed Flanagan had named his "Mongols" after Genghis Khan, whose real name was Temujin.  The "Mongols" in the book are the Temujai.  See how that works?

Anyway, I relayed some of the history of Genghis Khan and the Mongols, and Chandler threw in Atilla the Hun for good measure, wondering how all of the stories interwove.  Unfortunately they were about 800 years apart, but made a good argument about how history tends to repeat itself.

Chandler wasn't satisfied with my answers.  He never is.  I'm probably more knowledgeable than a lot of parents about stuff like this, but he thinks I should know more.  I, in turn, think he should read to gain some of this knowledge for him.  So I offered to request some Genghis Khan books for him from the local library (which has saved me hours and hours of explaining things to him, and which I end up getting humiliated because he soon knows more than I do).

We went to get the books yesterday.  The library works fast.  I told him they were young readers, so he could read quickly and gain a lot of background knowledge that he can use to add more details to later if he so wishes.  It's how I do research for my writing.

He was concerned.  "They're not those books that you pull a tab on, right?  I'm not gonna pull a tab and Genghis Khan will jump up waving a sword, right?"

I cracked up.  Driving while talking to Chandler is dangerous.  The boy has a wicked sense of humor and a wild imagination.  After I recovered, I explained that, no, these were not pop-up books.  I respected him more than that and knew he wanted more information than those books would give him.

But we couldn't leave it alone.  We drove to the library, got the books, and continued on to Subway.  Along the way, we kept imagining things a pop-up Genghis would say.  "My dogs will feast on your bones!"  "Submit or I will take your head!"  Not the kind of thing the average pop-up book reader would expect!  :)

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