Thinking about Susan's post on reading to a wiggly preschooler, reminded me that there's an easier time ahead in reading to a snuggly elementary schooler. After a long day at school being a big kid, there's nothing better that getting book time with mom or dad. Picture books remain wonderful choices, but now chapter books become a healthy part of the reading menu. Certainly any book is fine. But there are some that practically beg to be read aloud, especially those where the reading level is a bit high for the intended audience. Here are a few of those classics:
by A. A. Milne
I still hold onto a memory from fifth grade where a teacher saw me reading House at Pooh Corner and complimented me on choosing such a challenging book. These days we think of Winnie-the-Pooh as a preschooler thing, an idea pushed forward by the whole Disneyfication of the characters. It's a crying shame. The watered-down versions of the classic books ruin our appetites for the real thing. Fight back by reading aloud the true version with it's melodious language, gentle illustrations, and sophisticated story-telling.
Jenny and the Cat Club
by Ester Averill
When New York Review Children's Collection republished this book among other classics, I felt like I had found an old friend. I can't say that I had been searching dusty old bookshops for a copy. To be honest, I had forgotten all about this book until I saw the cover. And there was Jenny, the shy black cat with the red scarf. Oh, how I had missed her! The story follows a shy, little cat who wants to be part of the Cat Club and finds friends, adventure, and courage in their world. This book and the other Jenny books are perfect read-alouds for the younger set because the language and plot are simply - yet wonderfully - done.
by Michael Bond
Paddington Bear has also received the Winnie-the-Pooh treatment in recent years (what is it about bears?) with a ton of simplified boardbooks and adaptations. Again, you need to go back to the original to capture the heart of these stories of a bear found at a train station who goes on to make every day into exciting adventures as he bumbles along. The tales are wonderful for elementary school children, but the old-fashioned language and references can make reading the books a struggle. As a read-aloud, however, it's magical.
What are your favorite read-aloud books?