Smallest loves picture books, and I think it’s going to be a few more years before she moves away from them. But she’s ready for a little more too, and we’ve started reading chapter books at bedtime.
We tried Paddington a while ago, it didn’t really work out. I don’t know why, I tried it with the older kids too, and it just isn’t right for us. But one that was popular with Big is hitting the mark for Smallest, and that’s Milly Molly Mandy.
The stories of the family in the little white cottage with the thatched roof. Grandpa and Grandma and Father and Mother and Uncle and Auntie and Milly Molly Mandy her own self. Toby the dog and Topsy the cat. Each member of the family with their role to play, and the routine to the day and the week (Saturday is cake baking day). It’s wonderful to read about a different way of life, but it’s so far removed from the reality that Smallest knows that it could be fantasy about a world that’s never existed.
Sometimes we talk about the differences that are in the book – the chapter with the photographer was particularly challenging. She does want a picture taken that is actually on a piece of paper instead of just in a phone, and I can see her point of view there. But I think overall it’s the repetitive language and the smallness of the adventures that appeals – they are plausible.
Big loved The Magic Faraway tree – I think when we run out of Milly Molly Mandy (we’re between books just now) I might try to find some Blyton. I’d really like to read the Secret Island – that was one of my favourite books as a child. I want to know how much of it is plausible, but I can’t remember the details clearly enough to be sure. The other series I loved were the Circus ones – Mr Galliano was a particular favourite (Enid Blyton 5 Books in 1 at Amazon)
Other read alouds we’ll work towards – anything by Dick King Smith. I read the Hodgeheg to my elementary class at Montessori, and it was the book that restarted a love of reading in one of my group. She was perfectly capable – advanced even, but her previous school had bored her out of it with a succession of worthy tomes. Pointless if the child doesn’t want to pick them up. I never want to do that to any of my children, or me.
So, as ever, the prime focus for me on reading is enjoyment. Although I draw the line at rainbow fairies. Any child enjoying those gets to read them for themselves!