My wife and I have been avid readers with our kids since birth. Our youngest (7) has recently started preferring chapter books to the straight story book. This has partly arisen from the fact that both her sister (10) and brother (12) don’t read much else. But it’s also due to the great Beverly Cleary (101). Last year we inherited a box of old books from my folks (ages redacted), mostly stuff my sisters grew up reading. Among them were several of the “Ramona” books. Needless to say, she fell in love with the fact that the stories were told from the perspective of a little girl like her. And, so, we’ve been on chapter books ever since.
Anyway, I (45) thought it’d be fun to keep track of what she and I have been reading this year. So here’s the first month of Daddy Reads:
Runaway Ralph (Beverly Cleary)
We read The Mouse and the Motorcycle late last year. She didn’t like it that much at first–after all, the protagonist is a preteen boy–but she warmed up to Ralph and Cleary’s writing style. This is the sequel. It’s not as good overall but there are lots more kids and animals, and several scenes of tense suspense, all making for a good first read of the year.
I’m not going to go searching for this to find the author, but this is one of the junior novelizations of the hit Disney movie. We loved the movie. These novelizations are never as good, but the kids tend to like them at a certain age if they loved the movie enough.
Mary Anne Saves the Day (The Baby-Sitters Club #3) Raina Telgemeier
These are graphic novel adaptations of Ann M. Martin’s famous book series. My older daughter got one of Telgemeier’s original graphic novels a year ago and then devoured everything else she wrote over last year. I can see why. The characters are real and empathetically developed. They deal with young girls’ lives in serious (and positive) ways. I enjoyed this one more than I expected.
The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet; Journey to the Volcano Palace; The Mysterious Island (The Secrets of Droon #1-3) Tony Abbott
Some years ago, when we were still in our first house, one of our neighbors–a teenage boy–gifted us a bunch of his childhood books. Among them were the first dozen or so of this series. I had never heard of it but apparently it’s been successful. The first book came out in 1999 and the last–the 44th!!–came out in 2010. As you might imagine, when they’re written this quickly, there’s not much to appreciate for the grown ups. That said, the kids love them. They’re predictable, derivative, and poorly described, but the adventurous Eddie, Julie, and Neal discovering the mysteries of the land of Droon–including Princess Keah, the Wizard Galen Longbeard, and the evil Lord Sparr–are more than enough to entertain them. We’re on #4 right now.