When I check books out of library for the girls, I try to keep them for three weeks and read them several times so they get to know the story. While we read, there is usually something that we'll see that we didn't notice the previous time we read the story. It's also a chance to solidfy any concepts the girls might be shuffling around in their brains.
For Harper, a new book isn't always interesting until she sees something familar about it. We have recently been reading Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr. Suess and she wasn't too keen on this book until she saw a butterfly on of the pages. Once there was something in the book she recognized - or liked - she was OK with reading the rest of the story.
The books I am going to return to the library after their three week stay in our home, are My Very Big Little World by Peter H. Reynolds, Mama's Coming Home by Kate Banks, and my favorite of the three, In A Blue Room by Jim Averbeck. Hadley never comes out and says she likes any of the stories we read, but I assume that when she picks out the same stories before naptime and bedtime, that she is pretty intrigued with them. This was the case with these three stories.
Jim Averbeck uses poetry and the five senses to lull a wound up little girl to sleep. Alice is bouncing on her bed past bedtime, telling her mother she will only sleep in a blue room. Her mother brings in lilacs and lilywhites to smell, orange tea in a brown cup to taste, an extra soft quilt to touch, and lullaby bells to listen to. As the book progresses, Alice grows more calm, but it's only when her mother clicks off the bedroom light and Alice sees that her room turns blue from the moon, that she falls asleep.
In A Blue Room is such a peaceful book, and I always saved that one for the last because Hadley grew calm as the story progressed as well. I'm not sure how poetry and pictures do that, but I'm thankful for it.
I think what Hadley liked about My Very Big Little World was the way Peter Reynolds captured a little girl's voice in the story. The narrator, Sugarloaf, says and does things that Hadley would say or do. Sugarloaf tells us that her dad drives to work in a big truck. She notes that she is smaller then the truck, but she will grow. However, the truck will not. This is logic that Hadley can appreciate and understand.
Hadley also liked that Sugarloaf has a favorite color (orange) and draws all of her pictures in that color. Hadley does the same thing, only the color is black. She loves making black with her crayons, markers, or paints.
I picked out Mama's Coming Home because we own another one of Kate Banks books, and I love it. It's called And If the Moon Could Talk, and I would suspect that if I were to read that along side In A Blue Room, I would be in a peaceful sleep before Hadley could say, "You forgot to finish the story!" Mama's Coming Home is also poetry, but it has an exciting tone to it because Mama's coming home! Kate Banks manages to illustrate the craziness of one parent trying to get home during rush hour, and another trying to make dinner and manage the children. I think the chaos is lost on Hadley, but she enjoyed the rhythm of the poem and liked looking at all the pictures throughout the book.
I think my favorite part of each of these books, and probably my favorite part of any story Hadley and Harper enjoy, is that it gives us a chance to look at an aspect of the world together through an author's eyes. I love sharing that with them.
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