We read every night to the kids. Having a mother that loves to collect books and family members and friends that also like to give them, the kids have a lot of books. We also go to our local library, and my eldest son (in first grade) brings home books from school to practice reading. We read a lot of books. Each kid is allowed two books a night. Kile now reads one of the books and we read the other for him. Penelope is two and often picks small books so we are guilty of reading her extra books. We usually read kid picture books, but we also have been reading chapter books for the past two years. The chapter books that we read this year include the following.
On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
By far, the boys enjoy the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder more than any other chapter books. I know I am very enthusiastic about them, but they love the on their own merit. They especially love Pa and all of the things that he builds.
On the Banks of Plum Creek was especially exciting to the boys as it is set in Minnesota. Their grandparents live in Minnesota and that is where my husband is from originally. They thought it was very cool that Laura and Mary lived in a sod house in the ground and found it hilarious when a cow stuck its foot through the roof. They loved when Pa built the new house.
They identified with all of the feelings encompassed in the book. Kile looked nervous when Laura disobeyed Pa and went swimming by herself. Similarly he was torn up when Laura had to give her beloved doll Charlotte away. When Pa got trapped away from home by a blizzard at Christmas, both boys were very worried. And they were both disturbed by the invasion of the grasshoppers.
I believe that is why the Little House books are timeless. They are great historical fiction, showing the hardships faced by families settling the frontier in the nineteenth century, but they also show universal feelings shared by all children as they grow up. What it means to be good and why parents give you rules seemed to hit home with this book.
Overall, we loved On the Banks of Plum Creek. We are reading Farmer Boy right now, and the boys love it even more as it focuses on Almanzo.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Kile is very impressed that I still have the scholastic book order slip in this book from when my Mom purchased it for me when I was in elementary school. The story of Wilbur the pig and his friend Charlotte the spider is timeless. I love the start of the book, “Where’s Papa going with that ax?” asked Fern. And so Fern goes to save Wilbur’s life and to love him. The boys loved how Fern had a pet pig and were sad when he moved on to the Zuckerman’s farm. They perked up at the introduction of the animals and Charlotte. I enjoyed reading this book again and got a little teary at the bittersweet ending. The boys handled it better than me. Daniel was willing to let Wilbur meet his end in addition to another character if it meant bacon for breakfast.
Pirate School: The Curse of Snake Island by Brian James
The boys LOVE pirates and Kile had a pirate birthday party earlier this year. Aunt Jenn gave him this book and both boys enjoyed it. It was a quick read with plenty of pictures. Pete and his friends live aboard the ship called the Sea Rat. They are learning to be pirates, but first mate Rotten Tooth is always trying to foil their plans. They decide to prove their worth as pirates by discovering treasure on Snake Island. Will they be able to get past the scary snake guarding the treasure?