One of my favorite things about being a parent is getting to enjoy my favorite books from childhood all over again (the Little House books, Betsy-Tacy, The Saturdays, Encyclopedia Brown). But another benefit to being a parent is discovering children’s books that are new to me, even if they aren’t new. I’m not sure how I missed the Pye books by Eleanor Estes as a kid but I recently read Ginger Pye and Pinky Pye with the boys and loved them. I’ve mentioned before that it can sometimes be a challenge for me to find books that work as read alouds for both my boys, who are three years apart. These fit the bill perfectly.
The Pye family is a family of four living in Cranbury, Connecticut. If you’ve ever read the series by Estes about the Moffats, it’s the same town and the Moffats are mentioned peripherally in these books. The books were written in the 1950’s but take place sometime earlier (around 1920). Not a lot happens in these books compared to many more modern books. In the first book, Jerry (the son) gets a dog (Ginger) who then mysteriously disappears. A large part of the book is about Jerry and his sister Rachel searching for Ginger and trying to solve the mystery of what happened to her. In the second book, the family travels to Fire Island for the summer in conjunction with their father’s work as an ornithologist. They adopt a kitten (Pinky) who seemingly has the unusual talent of being able to type and write stories. There is also a small mystery about a missing pet owl.
Even though not a lot happens the books are compelling in the wonderful characters and picture they paint of ordinary life. Estes is terrific at capturing the thoughts and feelings of kids. The voices of Jerry and Rachel are totally believable and likable and we all enjoyed spending time with them.
For more read aloud fun, check out Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word.