"Richer than me you can never be
for I had a mother who read to me."
I think I've mentioned this before but I love books and one of my goals for motherhood is to have my kids love books, reading and learning too. Thankfully, Madeline has always been interested in books, loves trips to the library and is currently dying to read on her own.
Proof: When I picked her up on the first day of school, I asked how she liked it. Her reply: "It was really fun but...*big sigh* I didn't learn how to read, Mama." I had no idea I was supposed to manage that expectation on day one.
We recently started reading chapter books. I wasn't sure how she would do listening to books with very few pictures but she loves it. She thinks it's so fun to read the bigger books and I'm always surprised when she mentions something from the book days later. She really is absorbing the plot and its details.
However, I'm finding a shortage of chapter books appropriate for a 4-year-old. Our librarian recommended the Junie B. Jones series but after flipping through just the first few pages, I knew it was a no-go. "Stupid" was mentioned about 47 times in the first chapter along with "shut up." If Madeline ever hears me jokingly (always in the voice of Elaine Benes!) say "shut up," she reminds me that it isn't a kind word. So those books were out, along with my faith in our children's librarian.
We started with "Stuart Little." It was weird. She liked the book but I had a hard time liking it and it wasn't even just because it was a mouse. I love the movie but the book is a really weird plot, starting with a human mother birthing a mouse and it just gets stranger after that.
We moved on to "Rosa and the Water Pony," a fluffy read about mermaids and lost treasure. Madeline thought the mermaids were wonderful and we're waiting to get the next book. I'll just have to remind myself that I'm helping my child love books when I read the next one.
Next up was "Jenny Goes to Sea" about three cats that travel the world. We both really liked this book and every time the cats traveled to a new country, Madeline would run to the world map in our toy room and ask me to find the country. I loved that this book also introduced some very different cultures to Madeline.
Then I remembered how much I loved Beverly Cleary. We flew through these books because Madeline and I both loved reading them. Since Madeline begged me to read at breakfast, lunch and before bed time, we have already finished "Ramona and Beezus," "Ramona the Pest" and "Emily's Runaway Imagination."
I loved the Ramona books when I was little (and the PBS show; anyone else watch that??). If you read the books, do you remember how Ramona once squeezed an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink, just to see what it would feel like? That's what I did on my 21st birthday. I bought a tube of toothpaste and squeeze out the entire thing. It was as awesome as I always dreamed it would be.
And that's why my parents probably never worried about me getting mixed up in the wrong crowd. A 21st birthday at Ball State: Booze? Nah. Just hand me some Crest and I'll be thrilled.
Just to clarify, I wasn't a complete dork, spending my 21st birthday by myself squeezing toothpaste. My best friends threw a surprise party for me and it was a blast.
Anyone have any good recommendations for chapter books? I'm dying to read her "The Boxcar Chidlren" but I'm not sure if she's old enough for them.
P.S. I do still have my entire collection of "The Babysitters Club" in the basement and I do mean the ENTIRE collection. I spent every penny I had on books when I was younger. But I remember how steamy Mary Ann and Logan's relationship was and won't be reading those out loud any time soon. However, "Boundaries in Marriage" is completely appropriate.