Although it’s been awhile since I’ve posted on Read-Aloud Thursday, we are still reading. I always think of summer as a time when we will have lots of downtime and free space to just curl up and read. The reality is that I read less to the kids in the summer than any other time of year. Part of if is that we’re less scheduled and we tend to be people that thrive more on a schedule. The busier we are the more we get done. Part of it is that we aren’t “doing school” so I’m not reading all the school stuff to the boys that I normally would. A large part of it is swim season which is an intense but fun 6 weeks. I had been feeling a bit guilty about this as far as Ruth goes (the boys read on their own but she is dependent on someone to read to her) until I sat down to read a pile of library books to her the other day. I hadn’t yet read any of the books so I told her they were all new. Then she proceeded to tell me about them all. Turns out that just because I’m not reading to her it doesn’t mean she’s not getting read to. H. reads to her every night at bedtime and other times during the day. John reads to her. And David has been reading to her quite a bit it seems.
The first book in the stack that I read to her was Yoo-Hoo, Ladybug! by Mem Fox with illustrations by Laura Ljungkvist (of the Follow This Line books). Completely simple concept, completely adorable book. It’s a seek-and-find book with a ladybug hidden on each page. The rhyming text is cheerful (There you are…afloat in the bath with Duck and Giraffe!) and ladybug is never too hard to find. This is a great book for preschoolers and Ruth delighted in it.
David and I are reading Shiloh Season by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor as his special bedtime book. Years ago, I had read the first of the Shiloh trilogy with John but I didn’t know there were other books until recently when I went searching for books about animals for David to read. I wasn’t sure how he would like them, there are some sad parts and a character, Judd Travers, who is a bit scary. The depiction of poverty in West Virginia is realistic and sometimes melancholy. He is really enjoying this sequel as he did the first book in the series. One thing I really appreciate about these books about boy and dog are the deeper moral themes running through them. In the first book the hero, Marty, has to struggle between doing the right thing by saving Shiloh but lying to his parents while doing so. Can you do something morally good if you are also acting immorally? In the second book, Marty is faced with having to see his nemesis, Judd Travers, as being human. He has to work out how to be kind to someone who is really not very kind at all. I haven’t read them all yet but I see some themes of redemption woven in to the books that I really like. David at age 6 isn’t getting all of those themes, but I think the richness of the books contributes to his enjoyment of the story.
John and I are reading The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall as his special bedtime book. John doesn’t have a problem with reading books about girls but his genre of choice is fantasy so this wouldn’t be something he’d pick up on his own. He’s happy to listen to it though and is quite enjoying the adventures of the four sisters. I’m enjoying it even more I think. I would have LOVED this book as a child; The Penderwicks remind me of many of my favorite literary families: The Melendys, the All-of-a-Kind Family girls, the kids in Half Magic, the Pensevies. The only part of the book that John is not enjoying is the crush that the oldest girl has on the 18 year old gardener. Whenever I read those parts he gets all squirmy and starts to cringe a bit. I’ve skimmed over some of that. I think he likes it enough to want to continue with the sequels as his next read-alouds.
At lunchtime we are very slowly making our way through Rufus M., the third book in the series about the Moffats (another great literary family). I would argue that the Moffat books and Estes’ books about the Pye family are almost perfect read-alouds. Not a lot happens as far as plot but Estes is such a great writer that her voice compels the reader to keep reading to find out more about the characters. It’s one of the few series that all three of my kids enjoy listening to and that is truly appropriate for all ages. If you don’t know this family, I highly recommend getting to know them.
And don’t forget to stop by Hope is the Word for more Read Aloud Thursday.