Friday, December 22, 2006

An Excuse To Bring Up Something I've Been Thinking About

Yesterday MotherReader brought up a question about a children's book she recently read that included religious aspects that she didn't see mentioned in reviews of said book. She found it curious that no one else seemed to notice the religious passages or comment on their relevance to the rest of the book.

I've recently been thinking about some children's books I've read in which just the opposite takes place--religious discussion is missing from stories in what I find to be an illogical way.

The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan and The Chronus Chronicles by Anne Ursu both set up situations in which child characters learn that the Greek gods are for real. In one set of books the gods and goddesses continue to get involved ('ll say, to put it nicely) with humans, and in the other the Greek Underworld is what we have to look forward to after death.

In none of these books does any child character ever say, "But what about baby Jesus?" or "Does my rabbi know about this?"

Now these books are all adventures and work very well as such. They are not trying to be profound. But it still struck me as odd that all the kid characters just took the news that the Judeo-Christian ethic that they had been brought up in was pretty much turned on its ear. Even if you accepted that not one of these children had ever seen the inside of a church or a synogogue, they had to have heard of God and the Bible.

They didn't wonder what was up?

Evidently not. And evidently adult readers of these series don't expect them to because to my knowledge no one has noticed that these children know so little about their own culture that they can take this kind of switch in stride.

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