My six-year-old, Griffin, is suddenly not just reading little bits of things, but is reading, really reading. He has either a book or a notepad in front of him most of the day lately, either reading avidly or jotting notes about his thoughts. To celebrate this milestone, we headed to the library on Monday and he now has his very own library card! He's a responsible kid who loves reading, and those seem like ideal qualifications to be a card-holding patron of the library. He has always picked books and helped me with the self-checkout, but filling up his own bag and checking out separately from his brothers and myself was a whole 'nother world of independent fun.
In honor of his exciting news, here are some books we've been enjoying lately:
Peggy Rathmann, The Day the Babies Crawled Away
This is an old family favorite that was due for another checkout. We love this adventure tale of a little boy who rescues five babies who wander off after some bees while their parents are distracted. The silhouette illustrations are full of fun visual quirks, like a silly baby who bonds with bats. This book stands up to repeated readings - we didn't notice until recently that we recognized some of the silhouettes as characters from other Rathman stories!
Adam Rubin & Daniel Salmieri, Those Darn Squirrels!
Anybody with a bird feeder and a squirrel infestation can relate to Old Man Fookwire. Squirrel genius, floogle birds, and a local hardware store that apparently sells lasers all make this a silly and fun (but ultimately heart-warming) tale.
Linnea Asplind Riley, Mouse Mess
Reese is a big fan of the bright illustrations in this one that depict the nighttime kitchen stunts of a hungry mouse. I'm especially amused by the mouse's reaction to the mess he makes.
Laurence Anholt, The Forgotten Forest
What was once a grand forest that stretched from one coast to another eventually becomes an isolated patch of woods as trees are cut down to make way for cities. A touch heavy-handed at times - or at least obvious in its message - but touching, nevertheless. What can I say, I'm a sap for stories extolling the virtues of natural spaces and expressing concern for their disappearance.
Allan Ahlberg, The Runaway Dinner
A really fun addition to the runaway-food genre from a prolific and much-loved writer. There is something in the pacing and carefully-chosen turns of phrase, not to mention the personification of peas, that endears it to me.
Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, Nate the Great series
This is another of Dan's and my favorites that has earned a place in Griff's frequent rotation, too. Nate the detective leaves notes for his mom and takes his trusty hound out to solve mysteries with his keen sense of observation. Dan pointed out a while back that the simple sentence structure both makes the book easy for a beginner to read and gives it its characteristic dry, clipped style. It's noir for kids. Brilliant.
Dav Pilkey, Captain Underpants books
I cannot believe that I was ever in the potty-humor-banning camp! Pilkey provides a fine example of how clever silliness can be. Alliteration abounds! Puns proliferate! Flip-O-Rama...um...flips? With short, heavily-illustrated chapters interspersed with comic-style interludes, this is a great pick for a child who is ready to fly solo, or for you and your child to read together. We sometimes consume a whole book at a sitting, sometimes dip into just a few chapters before bedtime. And more than once, I've found the four-year-old sprawled asleep on top of a stack of them.