A couple of months ago, one of the moms in our virtual book club was asking when I started reading chapter books to the girls. The answer was much easier for Ellie than it was for Samantha since I just started dipping my toes into chapter books at bedtime with her (she turned five last month).
Now, I’m not a stick hard and fast to the rules kind of girl. Not every four year old will be able to sit and listen to you read them a chapter. And there might be three year olds who will. You know your kid best. If the little booger will sit through three stories at a time and eats it all up, why not give it a try?
I put together a list of five of our favorite read aloud chapter books for young kids. These aren’t terribly long and there are pictures sprinkled in to help keep your kids’ attention. Plus, each one on this list includes a main character (or two) that your kids can’t help but get attached to.
(And yes, Ellie is wearing a cat costume while looking through books because this is real life and that is what fabulous people do.)
One of my favorite things to do when it comes to reading books to the girls is finding variations of the same tale and reading (or watching) them together. Ellie (who is four) is at a particularly fun age for this. I love to watch her eyes get wide when she notices connections and I love watching her knit her eyebrows together and scrunch up her nose when she doesn’t like a particular deviation from the story she holds as “true.”
Ellie is never more of a stickler than when it comes to the story of Rapunzel. To her, the movie Tangled is gospel and thou shalt not mess with that shit. After a few failed attempts at looking at different versions of the story that just left her annoyed, I decided it was time to move on to another fairy tale.
We were at the library a few months ago when my older daughter noticed a wall lined with audio books. “What are those?” she asked, wondering why the DVDs were in weird cases and not with the rest of the movies. When I explained them to her, she was immediately intrigued and picked out one to listen to in the car.
Believe it or not, I had never listened to a book on tape before that. Lots of the ladies in our virtual book club are borderline obsessed with them (sort of like me with podcasts), but I was still an audio virgin.
At first, I wasn’t so sure how Ellie would feel about audio books. She’s still in preschool and the books we began picking were all chapter books (I only had one rule: nothing that would scare her. Sorry Harry Potter). I wasn’t sure how she would feel about the lack of pictures or if they would hold her interest at all.
Let me tell you. Girlfriend is hooked.
We drove down to Long Island this weekend and the hour and a half long car ride was almost completely silent because the girls were so into the story (if you know us, this is no small feat). In fact, Ellie was exhausted but didn’t want to miss anything so she stayed awake. I had to ban the book for the ride home to make sure she slept.
I like books. I like being kind to the environment. I like books that teach kids to be kind to the environment. So it kind of makes perfect sense to put together a post full of Earth Day books for kids, doesn’t it?
I made a list of five, but if I missed one of your favorites, please add it in the comments!
The Tiny Seed
by Eric Carle
This book combines Eric Carle’s gorgeous illustrations with the tale of a tiny (but mighty!) seed. We follow the little seed over the course of a year, watching it blow from a flower in the fall, drift, and root itself. Eventually, it becomes a giant flower and its own little seeds fly off in the wind. Perfect for teaching little ones about the life cycle of a seed!
The Berenstain Bears Go Green
by Jan and Mike Berenstain
In this story, the Bear family is out on a little fishing adventure in their local creek when they notice a horrible smell. Soon, they realize that waste from a dump is leaking into the water. Mama Bear is horrified and decides the family is going to do something about it. In the end, the whole town works together to clean up the dump. I love that the Bear family recognizes a problem and sets out to do something about it.
I don’t know what your house is like, but our house is mighty opinionated (especially the ladies in it, who happen to outnumber our lone male 3 to 1). If there’s something we can debate each other on, we will. And very often we all have different opinions.
When it comes to books though, we can all agree on one thing: our favorites are constantly changing. Sometimes it changes by the week or the month (we’ve had impossibly long stretches of reading the same exact book every single night—I’m talking to you Won’t You Be My Kissaroo? and you too Fancy Nancy). Sometimes it changes by the day.
Right now our favorites all happen to be what I consider classics (which means there is nary a Dora or Barbie or Disney Princess in sight—thank the friggin lord), so I thought I’d feature each of our current favorites and see if you guys love them too.