Daddy Reads: 3.18 and 4.18

I’m a little behind in my posts on what me and my littlest have been reading. March was a busy month with our spring break trip to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, and April always has the typical busyness of the season, so here’s a two-for-one.

The Tower of the Elf King; The Quest for the Queen; The Hawk Bandit of Tarkoom; Under the Serpent Sea; The Mask of Maliban (The Secrets of Droon #9-13) by Tony Abbott
We continued to work through The Secrets of Droon series, although at a slower rate than in the past. Some of that reduced speed was due to my efforts to move us on to something more interesting, and some of it was just due to our trip and a few other things, that reduced our reading. In any case, we continue! We completed five more books in the series in these past two months.

We’ve reached the end of the books we own and so it’s the library from here on out. I suppose it’s a wonderfully good thing that she likes something as much as she does this series, and that it motivates her to check out more books from the library (even if neither one of those has been a problem for us to begin with). In any case, I’ll remind myself to be glad about it while I bemoan the content of what it is we read.

For those who are interested, the books took a slightly more interesting turn with the temporary defeat of the book’s main evil doer Lord Spar. It had to be done, in order to shake up what had become a rather repetitious story format. We’ve now moved on to a series of other ne’er-do-wells, the introduction of each offering new (and convoluted) information expanding what we know of the land of Droon. This is becoming it’s own repetitious format, which was further interrupted by bringing some closure to one of the overarching stories, the quest to free Queen Relna from an evil spell and reunite her with her magical daughter Keeah. Spoiler alert: evil Lord Spar has returned in the thirteen book. Alas, it was only a matter of time.

Remarkable by Lizzie K. Foley
In an effort to connect my little to something of a higher quality, we also read Remarkable, by Lizzie K. Foley. This is a real deal chapter book. It’s got lots of characters; it is written and high level (probably suited to late elementary/early middle school kids); and it has 43 chapters. This is the first time we’ve read a book of this length and complexity.

I love this book. It’s odd, funny, and deeply intentional when it comes to the messages. My favorite part is the way she develops girl/women characters; they are central to everything in the book, and they are diverse and interesting and exceedingly human. This is the best young people’s book breaking the traditional gender bias of young people’s literature that I have ever read.

You want proof of my love and admiration for Remarkable? This is my third time reading the book. I read it to my son and, later, to my second daughter. Each of them has also read it once or twice on their own afterwards, too. It’s a testament to the quality and creativity of the book.

It looks like Remarkable has been a game changer for my little one. She was reluctant to read it because it was taking us away from Droon. We started mixing in a chapter a night while we read a reduced load of our latest Droon book. In time, we started skipping Droon now and again to read more Remarkable. She got hooked pretty early, and it started to become something she looked forward to doing. Once we finished, she took pride in the fact that this is the longest book she’s ever “read.” She also had that satisfaction that comes with reading something that you just know is meant for kids older than you.

Today we will begin reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. I’m so excited to do so, in part because I’ve never read it myself.

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