Monday, June 29, 2009

Book Binge

by Susan Sey

I recently tried to read Little Women to my 6 year old. She's a precocious reader, & while completely capable of reading the book herself, I didn't want to hand over the hard-backed copy my mom gave me when I was a girl. As my daughter routinely loves the covers right off books, I didn't want her grubby little paws on my beloved copy just yet. I decided to read it to her myself.

As it turns out, Little Women--while a wonderful story--is really....dense. The story telling is old-fashioned & detailed. The author doesn't just mention that the girls write a weekly newspaper for their secret society, she gives you the newspaper in its entirety. By the time the story picks up again--three pages later--my six year old is like, "Wait, what's going on again? Who are these people now?"

So I decided to table it for a few more years. I started reading her All Of A Kind Family instead. But I couldn't put down Little Women. I finished it myself, then I went for Little Men. Then I ate up Jo's Boys. Then I devoured Eight Cousins & Rose in Bloom in quick succession, & just finished up with An Old-Fashioned Girl.

I binged on Louisa May Alcott.

And you know what? I feel GREAT. I'd forgotten how beautifully uplifting those stories are. I love the way the people in her books are poor but find happiness. They have flaws but work so hard to overcome them. Their goodness and talent aren't always rewarded with money or fame, but they're always rewarded. And that satisfies me on such a fundamental level. Happy endings always do. (I'll bet there are a LOT of romance writers/readers who cut their teeth on Louisa May Alcott.)

I find so much of children's literature--at least the more modern stuff--so heavily laced with sarcasm, irony, clueless adults & poor grammar/bad language. I love reading with my kids but I'm so tired of books that disparage childhood. Little Women reminded me that it's possible to find really great books for actual children, not the adults who buy their books. Books where patience, self-sacrifice & charity are worth more than fashion, money & popularity. Books that celebrate childhood's inocence instead of trying to hurry them out of it. Where girls are taught to love goodness rather than clothes or looks, both in themselves as well as in others.

Have you revisited any children's or YA books that really touched you lately? I have a voracious reader at home & I need a summer reading list, so don't be shy!

69 comments:

Keira Soleore said...

!!!!

Jane said...

Hi Susan,
I don't read much YA books, but I've been reading a lot of Maurice Sendak's Little Bear books to my niece. She's only three, but some of the books are for beginning readers. Don't know what would appeal to a six year old.

Keira Soleore said...

I'm dancing in the Seattle rain...I'm dancing in the rain, I'm happy to be (up) alone (in the night).

Keira Soleore said...

Junie B. Jones were our first chapter books. Until then we just went through the library reading level by level (5 is the highest?).

We go through the nonfictions, too, as well as short story collections from various countries.

I also have a huge stack of Enid Blytons starting with Noddy waiting for the right moment.

I'd table Little Women for now, in fact, your daughter might want to give the first Harry Potter a try. The language isn't hard--the size is intimidating--but if she can get into the story and like Harry, she's be hooked.

Natalie Hatch said...

Depending on what age your reader is there is a plethora of great books out this summer. For older readers you have Melissa Marr's 'Wicked Lovely' series or Cassandra Clare's "Immortals" series. 'Graceling' by Kirstin Cashore is well worth a read too. For younger girls there's Meg Cabot. Or Skullduggery Pleasant is another series girls and boys can get into. And Rick Riordan's 'Percy Jackson' series about a boy who finds out he's Poseidon's son, really keeps you involved the whole way through.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Lovely post, Susan! I loved Little Women and Jo's boys as a young reader.

When my girls were young, I got to reread Anne of Green Gables. Then the PBS version came on and then Disney brought Anne and all of Avonlea to life. What fun it was to enjoy that weekly series about simpler times with my girls! Loved it!!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Another set of books that I loved and someone else here mentioned just the other day is The Five Little Peppers, it has been so long since I have read them I can't even give you the author but they were wonderful books.

Helen said...

Congrats Keira it has been a while since he has visited you have fun with him

Susan loved the post I don't read many YA books the last ones I read were The Harry Potter books and I loved them.

Books that I remember from my childhood are the Enid Blyton Secret Seven and Famous Five books filled with mystery and fun and shows kids how they can work together as a team and really have fun solving mysteries.

Have Fun
Helen

Caren Crane said...

Keira!! I can't believe your little chook has come home to rest at last. *g*

I'm with Suzanne on "Anne Of Green Gables". When my girls were grades 1 - 3, we gobbled those things up. I generally read to both of them at bedtime, even at those ages. They shared a room, which made my job easier.

I also read them the Harry Potter tomes, though they were hitting teens by the time the series ended. The trouble with that one is you need to do lots of voices...and then try to remember the voices you did. Oy.

I love the old-fashioned books and I found that by third grade, my girls did too. Try "Misty of Chincoteague". My older daughter ADORED that book (not me, I wasn't horsey).

Another great resource are the compendiums of fairy tales from the library. The big, dense ones without a lot of pictures. Those take a while to wade through.

Tawny's and my favorite, "Snow White and Rose Red" I recall as being horrendously long (to my elementary school mind), like 35 pages of dense print!

As a kid her age, I also loved funny poetry. An old-fashioned poet I loved was the first poet laureate of Tennessee, Richard M. "Pek" Gunn. If you can find any of Gunn's poetry, it is PERFECT for simple summers. Loved it!

Caren Crane said...

Susan, I'll make my teenagers ponder this one and post some answers later on. You know, they don't wake up until noon...

chekru said...

I with third Anne of Green Gables. little women and Anne of Green Gables, where my favorite when I was young. I still enjoy them.

There is also The Castle in the Attic
and The Battle for the Castle
by Elizabeth Winthrop... I loved these.

and the Ramona Series by Beverly Cleary

Kirsten said...

Susan, I'm with Caren on those fairy tales. You'll have to make sure you don't accidentally land on a book of real Grimm tales, but we regularly get the ones with 1,000 words a page, and it takes a long time to wade through them. AND they're about princesses, which is huge.

If you can get over the fact that they're the romance novel equivalent for 6 year olds, we love the fairy books by Daisy Meadows. Jewel fairies, pet fairies, flower fairies, there's a whole lot of fairies out there, and the the heroines are two girls who are definitely plucky. They may be too easy for your little one, though!

Have you tried the fantasy route? What about Secrets of Droon? There's a whole lot of those in the series.

Susan Sey said...

Keira! Congrats on the Golden Rooster! Keep a good eye on him--he's been acting so strange lately. Some family issues or something....

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Jane--

Thanks for the Maurice Sendak suggestion! I ought to give him another try. We love Where The Wild Things Are, but once got a book of his from the library in which a little girl is taking care of her baby brother/sister & isn't attentive enough. Kid gets stolen by fairies or goblins or something.

It was bad timing. We'd just had a baby & my then 3.5 yo was feeling protective. This story messed her up for days. The very idea that we could LOSE OUR BABY? That the FAIRIES WOULD TAKE HER?

Yikes. But we're older now, & (slight) less prone to hysterics. :-) Maybe we'll try again.

Kirsten said...

But as for your question? Don't get me started on a certain series of YA books that teach girls to be submissive to beautiful, dangerous men who might hurt them (though it wouldn't be his fault if he did because he really does love her -- it's just his nature). Ug. I'd put an adult romance in her hands before I'd give her that.

Graceling is awesome. I'm with Natalie on that one. A totally kickbutt heroine. The Hunger Games is another book with a top notch, tougher-than-the-boys heroine. But innocent? Hmm...not sure about that. Kids just grow up fast these days.

There's a dearth of great series at the middle grade level. I suspect that's partly because it's a genre that's extremely difficult to write well and honestly, being somewhere between child and YA. I think most of us can create a YA voice -- we've all still got that teenager inside us, don't we? -- but MG is much harder to invent. After all, we block out our middle school years, right? ;-)

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Keira--

We, too, love us some Junie B. We've had a little trouble with the grammar/language issue, though. After Junie B came home with us from the library, suddenly there was an outbreak of the word 'stupid' in our house. We had to discuss the difference between what's funny/acceptable in a book, & what's funny/acceptable in actual conversation.

I steered her toward Ramona Quimby instead, & she seemed satisfied. Though I have to admit, I privately miss the Junie B books. She's so funny.

And I'll have to reread the first Harry Potter to see if it'll work. I can't believe I'd forgotten about it--thanks!

Susan Sey said...

Natalie wrote: For younger girls there's Meg Cabot. Or Skullduggery Pleasant is another series girls and boys can get into. And Rick Riordan's 'Percy Jackson' series about a boy who finds out he's Poseidon's son, really keeps you involved the whole way through.


Thanks for these, Natalie! I haven't read any of Meg Cabot's stuff for young girls, & I've never heard of the others.

Library, here we come!

Susan Sey said...

Suz wrote: When my girls were young, I got to reread Anne of Green Gables. Then the PBS version came on and then Disney brought Anne and all of Avonlea to life.


Ooooh, a book with a family movie night tie-in! Well done, Suz! You were born to be a publicist. When you hit the shelves I'm going to stand back & take notes because it's going to be a one-woman tutorial in How To Sell. :-)

Susan Sey said...

Hrdwrkdmom wrote: Another set of books that I loved and someone else here mentioned just the other day is The Five Little Peppers


I'll check into this, thanks! I just taught my daughter how to use the computer at the library to search by author & title, so she'll love the challenge of looking something up.

Susan Sey said...

Helen wrote: Books that I remember from my childhood are the Enid Blyton Secret Seven and Famous Five books filled with mystery and fun and shows kids how they can work together as a team and really have fun solving mysteries.


Ooooh, I loved Enid Blyton when I was little. For some reason, I remember the Sullivan Twins. I wanted to go to boarding school in the worst way...

And my little one loves mysteries. She's nuts for the Box Car Children right now, & there seem to be hundreds of those, so that ought to last us a week or two. :-)

Susan Sey said...

Caren wrote: An old-fashioned poet I loved was the first poet laureate of Tennessee, Richard M. "Pek" Gunn. If you can find any of Gunn's poetry, it is PERFECT for simple summers.

Oh, Caren, thanks for this! My daughter LOVES poetry, especially funny stuff but I haven't the first clue where to start looking for such stuff. We're going to the library today (6 hour road trip to Omaha starts tomorrow & I'll need the reinforcements) so I'm totally going to clean them out of Richard M. Gunn.

And I'll grab up an Anne of Green Gables, too. :-)

Susan Sey said...

Chekru wrote: There is also The Castle in the Attic
and The Battle for the Castle
by Elizabeth Winthrop... I loved these.


Another two for the list! Thanks, chekru!

Susan Sey said...

Kirsten wrote: I'm with Caren on those fairy tales. You'll have to make sure you don't accidentally land on a book of real Grimm tales, but we regularly get the ones with 1,000 words a page, and it takes a long time to wade through them. AND they're about princesses, which is huge.

Funny thing about those Grimm's tales, the real ones? I was all concerned about the level of violence in them. You know people are always getting killed in horrible ways in those things--eaten, beheaded, stuffed into cellars by evil husbands/stepfathers/masters, etc. But I have a treasury of the real deal lying around & of COURSE my kid gets into them.

You want to know her objection?

NOT violent death.

NOT beheadings, banishings, etc.

It was that there were no disney-style fairies. Even in Cinderella, the fairy godmother role was played by a bird (apparently--I haven't read these in years & am taking a 6 yo's word for it) who simply dropped a dress out of the sky to wear to the ball.

This was extremely unsatisfying to my disney-bred little girl. :-)

Susan Sey said...

Oh, & thanks for the Secrets of Droon suggestion. She's already torn through the Rainbow Fairies (at your suggestion; she loves them, so thanks!) so we're on the hunt for something new.

Blodeuedd said...

I have started reading YA books, I kind of skipped those and jumped directly to adult books. They are cute and fun. Just read one by Melissa Walker, and it was really sweet

Susan Sey said...

Kirsten wrote: But innocent? Hmm...not sure about that. Kids just grow up fast these days.


I know, right? That's what I'm struggling against. I don't WANT her to grow up too fast. I want her to enjoy being a little kids, & there seem to be so few resources for ensuring that. We don't watch much TV--more DVDs & so far she's content with Disney. Mary Poppins, Sound of Music, all the princess movies, etc.

But she's a voracious reader & I'm struggling to keep her in new material that won't puncture that beautiful little-kid bubble she still lives in.

You're right, though. I think it's probably really, really hard to write a good book that speaks to modern kids that's overly innocent. Kids today just aren't.

Happily for me, she doesn't mind re-reading. I got the Little House series in reinforced hard-cover & they've been totally worth the money so far. :-)

Susan Sey said...

Kirsten wrote: Don't get me started on a certain series of YA books that teach girls to be submissive to beautiful, dangerous men who might hurt them (though it wouldn't be his fault if he did because he really does love her -- it's just his nature).

Ooooh, I think I know the one you're talking about, & I'm totally with you. I hate it when girls are asked to suspend their brains/athleticism/bravery/common sense in the name of love. It's just so...wrong.

Susan Sey said...

Blodeuedd wrote: Just read one by Melissa Walker, and it was really sweet

Thanks for the suggestion! It's on the list!

And I, too, sort of skipped YA when I was younger. I went straight from Little House on the Prairie to VC Andrews & from there to Iris Johanssen & Julie Garwood. And now that I have kids, I'm going backwards to see what I missed. :-)

Kirsten said...

Susan, we found a couple of treasuries of "princess" stories from other countries that my little princess really loves. Indian, Chinese, etc. They had a few beautiful illustrations and thousands of words per page. These were a BIG BIG hit.

http://www.amazon.com/Princess-Stories-Around-World-Kate/dp/1843651009/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1246283406&sr=8-1

We tend to go in the library and ask the children's librarian for "princess stories". They're amazing at digging up things that aren't Disney, but appeal to a 6 year old.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hey Susan - maybe you should be joining the historical writers (grin).

My children are old enough to start having children of their own, and when they do - I can't wait to play Grandmom and read to the little darlings (or terrors). I read to both my children every night when they were little and I miss it terribly. I'm thinking my son might be serious about his recent girlfriend because he loaned (please tell me it was loaned!)my hardcover, illustrated copy of THE HOBBIT. I remember reading that one to him when he was little and it obviously made an impression. I have no problem passing that down to future generations - but if this relationship does not work out - that book better find its way home!

Donna MacMeans said...

Just wanted to say hi to Keira (waving). Haven't heard from you in a while!

terrio said...

I read a sort of *condensed* version of Little Women when I was around 10. I do love that story and pretty much all the movie versions as well.

I found the same version for my daughter not long ago and a dollar store of all places. She hasn't read it yet, but I'm hoping she'll like it.

Right now she's engrossed in the Canterwood Crest series by Jessica Burkhart. There are horses and boys and cliques and intrigues. But the adults are not portrayed negatively and the relationship between the main character and the girl who is her enemy, so to speak, is evolving and growing.

This is the first series my daughter has devoured and I can't thank Jessica enough!

Janga said...

Margaret Sidney wrote the Five Little Peppers books. I think there are a dozen or so books in the series.

What about Chronicles of Narnia?

I also recommend:

Patricia Wrede--Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, Talking to Dragons)
A great fantasy series about a princess who prefers being a dragon’s housekeeper to waiting around for a prince. Details such as a blue flying donkey rabbit named Killer, evil wizards who can only be melted by buckets of soapy water and lemon juice, and a a hero as unconventional as the princess make this series a delight. The first book is the best, but all are good.

Hilary McKay--any of her books
I especially recommend the Exile trilogy (The Exiles, The Exiles at Home, Exiles in Love). One critic called this series “Little Women for today’s readers,” and I think Exiles in Love is the best book about first-crush love that I’ve ever read—and one of the funniest.

Katherine Paterson--Not only Bridge to Terabithia but also Jacob Have I Loved, Lyddie, and Come Sing, Jimmy Jo.

Gillian Layne said...

Susan, has your daughter looked at the Boxcar Children series? They are delightful! And the Pony Pals series by Jeanne Betancourt is great too, and there is a website for the Pony Pals that is very children friendly.

May as well find good sites for the kids to visit now, as they have computer classes starting in kindergarten here, and do many assignments on line. It's a new world!

Oh, and I always mention Trumpet of the Swan by EB White. One of my favorite all time books. I re-read it almost every summer.

Barbara Monajem said...

If you're looking for old-fashioned stuff, you might try Little House on the Prairie and its sequels.

Also, I loved many of Edith Nesbit's stories -- they take place in the late 19th/early 20th C, I think -- Five Children and It, The Treasure Seekers, The Story of the Amulet, etc.

If you're looking for poor hardworking people, I'm told The Moffats and sequels by Eleanor Estes are good.

One of my favorite YA authors writing nowadays is R. L. LaFevers. All her books are good, but I particularly enjoyed Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos and Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris. They take place in the early 20th Century, and I find them to be a good mix of what I like about both old-fashioned and modern writing.

Susan Sey said...

Kirsten wrote: we found a couple of treasuries of "princess" stories from other countries that my little princess really loves.

Thanks for the link! We'll totally look that one up!

Susan Sey said...

Donna wrote: Hey Susan - maybe you should be joining the historical writers (grin).


I wish! I loved historicals first & best, but as it turns out, I have not an ounce of ability to write them. My hat's off to all you ladies who do, because I just can't. My voice doesn't suit it, & I'm a rotten researcher. :-)

But here's hoping your copy of the Hobbit makes its way home. Girlfriends are pernicious book stealers. (And yes, I'm speaking from a place of tremendous guilt.) :-)

Susan Sey said...

Terrio wrote: Right now she's engrossed in the Canterwood Crest series by Jessica Burkhart. There are horses and boys and cliques and intrigues.

I'm almost afraid to let her read horsey books as it could possibly begin the inevitable Great Love Affair between girl & pony that I'm pretty sure is coming anyway. But I'll certainly check these out--thanks for the suggestion!

Susan Sey said...

Janga wrote: Patricia Wrede--Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Dealing with Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, Talking to Dragons)
A great fantasy series about a princess who prefers being a dragon’s housekeeper to waiting around for a prince. Details such as a blue flying donkey rabbit named Killer, evil wizards who can only be melted by buckets of soapy water and lemon juice, and a a hero as unconventional as the princess make this series a delight. The first book is the best, but all are good.


Oh, this sounds wonderful! I can't wait to pick it up, even if I'm the only one who reads it. And the Hilary McKat books sound great, too. I'm going to need a truck to haul this all home from the library!

Susan Sey said...

Gillian Layne wrote: May as well find good sites for the kids to visit now, as they have computer classes starting in kindergarten here, and do many assignments on line. It's a new world!


You're not kidding. I'm terrified of the day she realizes she can log onto the computer with any help from mom & dad, & goes exploring. It's not far off.

As for the Box Car Children, yep. She's discovered them, & now has a minor addiction problem. If she doesn't read at least three a week she gets a little twitchy. Thankfully there are a LOT of them out there. God bless Gertrude Chandler Warner.

Susan Sey said...

Barbara Monajem wrote: Also, I loved many of Edith Nesbit's stories -- they take place in the late 19th/early 20th C, I think -- Five Children and It, The Treasure Seekers, The Story of the Amulet, etc.

If you're looking for poor hardworking people, I'm told The Moffats and sequels by Eleanor Estes are good.


These sound great! I'm putting them on the list. I think there are a few Little House books she hasn't read yet, too. We stopped when we got to On the Shores of Silver Lake. It's got a pretty dark opening--Mary's blind, Jack's dead, Pa's broke. Yikes. We picked up again with Little Town on the Prairie, but might have stopped again. I'll have to check into it....

MsHellion said...

I read Little House on the Prairie again this year. I *LOVE* it.

But even as good as those books are, the things I love most about them are how Laura really is. *LOL* Like she is sarcastic at time and cranky...and not really good. And she knows this makes her a bad person, but dangit, she can't help it. *LOL*

She does seem to have a happier childhood than probably most modern YA novels have. I don't know if I mind the stories with the crap childhoods. I grant you they can get tiresome--I mean, can that many people really be that unhappy?--but I had a crap childhood, so I can relate. *LOL*

MsHellion said...

I'm totally snorking at Kirsten's comment about "The Certain Set of Books That Shall Not Be Named" and the danger of giving girls a book where it's suggested they be submissive.

I don't know. Submissive teenager? I mean aren't those mutually incompatible terms?

Read them. Gakked at the Romeo & Julietness of it all, and wondered why all teenage girls are the same. Overwrought.

But you know when I was a teenager, I read a lot of Danielle Steel when I was a teenager, and if I were truly be become a product of what I read, I'd expect my first husband to die so I could find my real soulmate. (Heck, maybe that's why I've never married. I'm afraid of being charged with premeditated murder.)

flchen1 said...

Ooh, I've got one of those, too--precocious readers, that is :) We read the Little House books and we're finally on On the Way Home, but haven't gotten into it yet. She's also read some of Beverly Cleary's books, starting with the Ramona books. We also started some Edward Eager's Magic books (we started with Half Magic). The kids also enjoyed the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books.

Oh, Kirsten, my daughter's read tons of those Daisy Meadows books--I think they sort of all run together after a while. I was surprised when she claimed to have finished one in something like 20 minutes, but then again, she probably did :)

Oh, a couple of other series--they did like the Andrew Lost ones (Andrew and his cousin shrink themselves somehow and get themselves lost just about everywhere...) and the Secrets of Droon. Also, we just read several of Charise Mericle Harper's Just Grace books--extremely charming and readable stories about Grace, who's self-identified super power is... empathy! Woo! (We read these together--I enjoyed them, too!)

Hope you find some more great reading for both of you! :)

Treethyme said...

Loved this post, even though I wasn't a huge fan of Louisa May Alcott. My best friend would binge on Laura Ingalls Wilder while I read Caddie Woodlawn -- the closest I came to the prairie.

I preferred mysteries, for the most part. When I was a teenager, though, my mom gave me her copies of Jean Webster's DADDY LONG-LEGS and DEAR ENEMY, and I loved those.

In the days before my TBR pile reached such crushing heights, I would dig out my old favorite Candlelight Ecstasy's, SuperRomances and Harlequin/Mills & Boon books, or my old Agatha Christie's, for summer reading binges.

jo robertson said...

Beautiful post, Susan. Thank goodness for a mother who read to you, as the saying goes!

My grandchildren love to read the Nancy Drew stories as I did when I was a girl.

There's something so fundamentally human about reading to a child, don't you think? Even one who's very young and understands only the rhythm of the words.

Caren Crane said...

Susan, my Alexandra says the Septimus Heap series is really good. It has magic and a plot to overthrow a queen who gets murdered and so does a wizard and then this kid, Septimus, is the 7th son of a 7th son (but doesn't know it). He gets stolen away and put in some army and stuff happens and Septimus doesn't know his family, but he eventually escapes the army and is lost in the woods, etc. and eventually he finds out his true identity and becomes the apprentice to the new Extraordinary Wizard. Junk like that. Other stuff happens in the other books. Lots of plot and magic, apparently. Highly recommended by the 14 year old!

Caren Crane said...

She also says Eragon is great but may be too advanced for the 6 year-old. She also recommends C.S. Lewis's Narnia books (but I would wait a couple of years for those).

Caren Crane said...

Also a recommendation from the youngest for the Babysitter's Club series of books.

Magic Treehouse books by Mary Pope Osborne were a HUGE HIT in our house. I can't believe I had forgotten them! Alexandra is caressing her hardcover copy of "Christmas in Camelot" from that series right now and cooing at it.

Beth said...

Susan, I have to admit, I forced my older daughter to read Little Women and she won't let me forget it! She only read half of it and just could not finish it (not that she couldn't, but she had no desire to *g*)

I think it's difficult to find books that appeal to children's age level AND their reading level if those levels aren't the same (if that makes sense) When my kids were younger, they stuck with books only a grade or two above their ages only because those were the stories they enjoyed :-)

I have raided my girls' keeper shelf and have come up with these titles: The Prophecy of the Stones

No Talking and Frindle by Andrew Clements

There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom and Holes by Louis Sachar

The Lady Grace Mysteries

Esperanza Rising

My youngest loved The Magic Treehouse series. The stories are short but there are so many of them, you can gorge on a few a day *g*

Caren Crane said...

Also a recommendation for "The Indian In the Cupboard".

The 16 yr-old said her favorites were always and ever Dr. Seuss books. I have to agree. Skip the "baby" ones and get the big ones: "The Sneetches And Other Tales", "Dr. Seuss's Birthday Book", "Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book", "Bartholomew And the Oobleck".

My girls adored "Gypsy Girl's Best Shoes" by Anne Rockwell. That was one from my childhood.

flchen1 said...

Oh, and we haven't started these, but at some point I plan to read The Secret Garden, The Little Princess, and the Ballet Shoes, Skating Shoes, Theater Shoes books with her... I read those eons ago and of course, can't remember a thing about them...

Oh, and I remember really like the rats of NIMH, but haven't reread those with the kids yet either.

michellewillingham said...

A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter. It's an amazing story, and I looooved it.

Also, anything in the Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery.

Happy sigh. I love those books.

Treethyme said...

Oh, I loved Freckles and Girl of the Limberlost by Jean Stratton Porter. Although one of them had a scene where a tree crushed a man, and I had nightmares about that.

My daughter loved the Alice books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, which are still being published, and Lois Duncan's mysteries, as well as Goosebumps, The Babysitter's Club and the Harry Potter books.

My son loved Harry Potter and the Eragon books.

Susan Sey said...

Mshellion wrote: But even as good as those books are, the things I love most about them are how Laura really is. *LOL* Like she is sarcastic at time and cranky...and not really good. And she knows this makes her a bad person, but dangit, she can't help it. *LOL*

This is EXACTLY what I love about the Little House books, as well as Little Women. The characters aren't angels--they're real children with character flaws. Jo struggles terribly with her temper, Laura struggles against naughtiness. But they both have strong, patient, loving parents who sympathize & help them overcome. Or at least help them strive to overcome.

But I'll be the first to admit--I'm no Marmee. I'm no Pa or Ma, either. I read these books as much for parenting tips as for entertainment.

That Marmee is some kind of saint.

Susan Sey said...

Mshellion also wrote: But you know when I was a teenager, I read a lot of Danielle Steel when I was a teenager, and if I were truly be become a product of what I read, I'd expect my first husband to die so I could find my real soulmate.

Oh my gosh, I'm snorking over here. This could be a whole 'nother blog post: Top Ten Life Strategies I Learned From Reading Romance. I'm not sure anticipating widowhood is the stuff of most people's HEA, though. :-)

Susan Sey said...

flchen1 wrote: Oh, Kirsten, my daughter's read tons of those Daisy Meadows books--I think they sort of all run together after a while. I was surprised when she claimed to have finished one in something like 20 minutes, but then again, she probably did :)


Dude. Same deal over here. Those books are like snacks or something. She checks out fifty or so (could be an exaggeration, but not much of one) and inside half an hour she's like, "There's nothing to read."

Gah. Thanks for the other suggestions, though. I'll look into 'em.

Susan Sey said...

Treethyme wrote: My best friend would binge on Laura Ingalls Wilder while I read Caddie Woodlawn -- the closest I came to the prairie.


I LOVED Caddie Woodlawn. Just adored her. I wanted red hair in the worst way....

Susan Sey said...

Jo wrote: There's something so fundamentally human about reading to a child, don't you think? Even one who's very young and understands only the rhythm of the words.

I'm going to be crushed when my youngest learns to read & goes all "I can do it myself" on me. Dirty little secret here, but I enjoy the stage before they can read but when they have a limitless appetite for books. My oldest zipped through it too soon, & I'm hoping my youngest takes her time because I adore reading out loud.

Susan Sey said...

Carent, thanks for the great suggestions! She's huge into fantasy & princesses so I'll definitely check out the ones you mentioned.

And the Babysitter's Club! I hadn't thought of them. I'll see if she'll bite on that one. But she's already knocked off the entire Magic Tree House series. (which I loved, btw.) We wait with bated breath for the next one.

Susan Sey said...

Beth wrote: I think it's difficult to find books that appeal to children's age level AND their reading level if those levels aren't the same (if that makes sense) When my kids were younger, they stuck with books only a grade or two above their ages only because those were the stories they enjoyed :-)

This makes PERFECT sense to me, Beth. I struggle because her comprehension level is several grades above the subject matter she's ready to tackle & understand. That's why I gravitate to the classics--they tend not to indulge in bad language or sarcasm or irony, or (saints preserve me) sexuality issues that I'd prefer we not discuss just yet. :-)

Susan Sey said...

Caren wrote: The 16 yr-old said her favorites were always and ever Dr. Seuss books. I have to agree.

My husband just said to me the other day that the absolute best story to read aloud to the girls was Too Many Daves from the Sneetches. ("And another named Hot Shot! Another one Snimm! And one of them HoosFoos! And one Sunny Jim!")

I respectfully disagreed. It is, without a doubt, What Was I Afraid Of?, also from the Sneetches. ("What could those pants be there for? What could a pair of pale green pants be standing in the air for?")

Susan Sey said...

flchen1 wrote: at some point I plan to read The Secret Garden, The Little Princess, and the Ballet Shoes, Skating Shoes, Theater Shoes books with her...

I remember loving the Secret Garden. I don't know if I've ready the shoes books. I'll have to check them out. Thanks!

Susan Sey said...

Michellewillingham said: A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter. It's an amazing story, and I looooved it.


I'm loving all these suggestions! I've never heard of this one but will put it on the list. And you guys ought to see my list. I'm going to have a ball at the library tomorrow! Thank you all so much!

Susan Sey said...

Treethyme wrote: Although one of them had a scene where a tree crushed a man, and I had nightmares about that.


Isn't it funny what your brain latches onto? What you protect your kids from & what they just gloss over without an issue?

I protected my kids from Bambi with a vengeance because I remember the forest fire scene being so devastating. Well, they saw it at a friend's house recently & it doesn't seem to have fazed them. My youngest actually wants to play Bambi all the time now.

Weird.

limecello said...

Hm... 6 year old? I read all the boxcar children books, sweet valley twins, nancy drew, the little house books, the oz books. And then I liked Madeline L'Engle, Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Cynthia Voigt, but then those were all 5th grade and beyond.
Oh Encyclopedia Brown books too :) LM Montgomery - how could I almost forget her? That was middle school - but maybe reading aloud it would work... I'd start with caldecotts then work up to newberry books?

flchen1 said...

BTW, totally off topic, Susan, but I love seeing your poster icon--your smile always makes me smile!

And thanks for the fun topic today--I'm going to be checking out all the suggestions for our family, too! (And for now, the kids all still love being read to--even the oldest, who's almost nine. We'll see how much longer that lasts ;))

Keira Soleore said...

"After Junie B came home with us from the library, suddenly there was an outbreak of the word 'stupid' in our house. We had to discuss the difference between what's funny/acceptable in a book, & what's funny/acceptable in actual conversation."

Ooh, very nice handling, Smoov!! I'm going to borrow this for all sorts of inappropriate usage in books but in real life. However, my thing with that is that you have know the good and the bad and choose the good, instead of leaving kid ignorant of bad and only show good. Bcos this is bound to come back to bite your kid later.

Keira Soleore said...

Count me in the group as another parent who laments the early loss of innocence in kids. How to keep them smart and safe and yet innocent??