Read-Aloud Thursday: Year in Review

For the last Read-Aloud Thursday of 2013 I’m listing all the chapter books we’ve read together. As I’ve described before, our bedtime routine includes a “special book” for each child. This year I’ve tried to fold Ruth into the routine. She has always had picture books read to her but this year we added in a “special” book also. Her attention span is still pretty short so often this means I read a couple of pages instead of a whole chapter to her. Then H. reads a stack of picture books to her while I go and read to the boys. The big change this year has been that David hardly every falls asleep during John’s book so in reality they are both listening to both books. This means we could switch to just reading one book at night and read it faster instead of reading two books slowly. We’ll have to see what they want to do.

With John (age 10, 5th grade):

The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis

John said his favorites this year were the two Tolkien books. I’d have to agree with him. I think I said last year that the books we read together demonstrated the pleasures of reading with an older listener and I’d say that again this year. He is perfectly capable of reading Lord of the Rings on his own and he is a voracious and fast reader. So the fact that he still prefers to read some books slowly with me is something that I treasure. We also really enjoyed the Penderwick family, as did David.

With David (age 7, 2nd grade):

Swordquest by Nancy Li Fan
Sword Mountain by Nancy Li Fan
Winter According to Humphrey by Betty Birney
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
The High Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate by Scott Nash
Adventure According to Humphrey by Betty Birney
Shiloh Season by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt
The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
Three-Ring Rascals: The Show Must Go On by Kate and Sarah Klise
Magic by the Lake by Edward Eager

David votes as his favorites Sword Mountain, The High Skies Adventures of Blue Jay the Pirate and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. Actually, when asked he chose just about every book on the list until I forced him to narrow it down to three favorites. That fits his personality: generally pretty easy-to-please. It also means it was a good year of reading.

With Ruth (age 4) : 
The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook by Joyce Lankester Brisley
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Rachel Field’s Hitty: The First Hundred Years by Rosemary Wells
Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
Ruth picked them all as her favorites also. I have most enjoyed sharing some of my childhood favorites, the Betsy-Tacy books, with her. I’m not always sure how much she is understanding or listening but every night she asks to read Betsy-Tacy so I know she is enjoying this sweet time together.
With everyone at lunch:

Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis
Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis
The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
The Middle Moffat by Eleanor Estes
Rufus M. by Eleanor Estes
Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling
The Moffat Museum by Eleanor Estes

We also read a book at lunch together, generally something that all three kids can listen to. We’ve spent a lot of time with The Moffats of Cranbury, Connecticut this year and it’s been time well-spent. However, I’m ready to move on to something a little different.


Encyclopedia Brown Saves the Day by Donald Sobel
The Hoboken Chicken Emergency by Daniel Pinkwater
Encyclopedia Brown Solves them All by Donald Sobel
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Birthday by Betty MacDonald
The Mulberry Project by Linda Sue Park
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright
The Four Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright
And Then There Were Five by Elizabeth Enright
Spiderweb for Two by Elizabeth Enright
A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
Freckle Juice/The One in the Middle’s the Green Kangaroo by Judy Blume
Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead
B.F.G. by Roald Dahl
Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins
Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. OBrien
Lunch Money by Andrew Clements
A Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
Report Card by Andrew Clements
Bunnicula by James Howe
Howliday Inn by James Howe
The Celery Stalks at Midnight by James Howe
Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer

We also listen to a lot of audiobooks in the car. Some of these were on long trips, but most are just on our short every-day car-rides. David votes for The B.F.G., A Cricket in Times Square and Bunnicula as his favorites. For John it was Peter Pan in Scarlet, Report Card and Half Moon Investigations.

On deck for 2014? I have the new Kate DiCamillo book, Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, waiting to start tomorrow night. I also have Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry to read to the boys before we go and see the play together (one of their Christmas presents). Ruth and I are continuing our visit to Deep Valley with Betsy, Tacy and Tib. And I’m suddenly seized with a desire to read Mary Poppins to them after going to see Saving Mr. Banks (an excellent movie, by the way).

What about you? What have you been reading as a family?

Be sure and stop by Hope is the Word for more year-end booklists and great read-aloud suggestions. Consider making participating in Read-Aloud Thursday a New Year’s Resolution!

4 thoughts on “Read-Aloud Thursday: Year in Review

  1. First of all, I am jealous that you’ve seen Saving Mr. Banks already! I REALLY want to see it! I read MP to my girls years and years ago and was taken by surprise (though I don’t know why!) at how different it is from the movie.

    I’m impressed by your organizational skills at keeping up with all those different read-aloud sessions and that lengthy audiobook list! We’ve sort of fallen off the audiobook wagon–maybe that will be my 2014 resolution!

    Lots of your titles intrigue me!

  2. Engineer Husband and I saw Saving Mr. Banks today, and we both liked it. Of course, now I want to know exactly what was true and what was Disney-imagined in the movie. I, too, want to re-rad the Mary Poppins books, at least the first one.

    • I did a little internet research after we saw it and it seems that a fair amount is imagined or maybe sanitized. I think that as a movie it worked really well but it should be viewed as fiction and not a documentary.

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