Friday, January 05, 2007


After some tens of months of trying to get her to read on her own, I've relented and finally started reading every night to my older daughter again. It's nice to see her engaged, but I didn't quite realize how much I was enjoying it until tonight, as she begins the weekend at a girl scout retreat. Damn. I'm kind of bummed.

As you will find out very soon, I'm reading The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett to her, which happens to be about a nine-year-old girl with excellent perception and judgement. (I'm reading it to the five-year-old too, but that one is far less interested.) I found this one after quite a bit of research--junior is exceptionally picky--and I am scratching my head about what to do in a week or two.

Not much point to this post, just fishing for what to do next. She liked Charlie last year and Milo the year before, but has been otherwise hard to please. Black Beauty? Not so much a horse girl. Narnia? Bounced off of it. Alice? That too--drove me (more) nuts. We're finally on a roll again, and I hate it to stop it after one book. She likes Shel Silverstein too (hi LS), but that's one of the few things she prefers to read herself.

Let me know if you have recommendations.



rundeep said...

Hey Keif: Good stuff. Other Roald Dahl's that would work for both of them: The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda.

For your older daughter, try some Kate DeCamillo books like "Because of Winn-Dixie" and "Despereux." Winn-Dixie is one of the very few books my daughter re-read from sheer joy.

Also, Eva Ibbottson books were popular in our house for a long time. The "Secret of Platform 13" and "The Island of the Aunts" were particular favorites. Both are very plot-driven, sort of fantasy books, but the best sort -- where the kids have power.

Diana Wynne Jones is another possibility. Try "Howl's Moving Castle."

If she prefers non-fiction (or historical fiction), we just enjoyed "Our Only May Amelia" which is the "memoir" of a young girl in a large immigrant family in the late 18th Century in the Pacific Northwest.

The Series of Unfortunate Events books are the only ones I'm still reading out loud, because she prefers it that way. They are excellent, if you haven't begun them, it's worth doing, though they might be a little rough on your little one.

Keifus said...

Oh, those are great suggestions. Just the sort of thing I was looking for. Thanks!

sydbristow said...

My wife would do better with this but here are a couple of classics:

Slake's Limbo -- huge!

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn -- massive!

Maybe save the latter for next Christmas, or later (guessing).

Oh, yeah, and I remember that feeling, nice(ly done).

Keifus said...

Awesome. I appreciate this.

Slake's Limbo, sounds promising and evidently I should have heard of it by now. Read Tree as a kid myself and found it affecting even as a boy (no doubt helped make me the manly man I am today). But yeah, maybe just a hair too soon for that.

The Wee Free Men talk with ridiculous Scottish accents (which makes it great fun to read aloud). How I knew I was connecting: "crivens!" my daughter says to me the other day, imitating them (with far too much seriousness). For now she's "me wee hag." We'll see how long it lasts.


sydbristow said...

If we're together as a family, say at the dinner table, and someone mentions Slake's Limbo, everybody just kind of goes blank for a moment, as if to be with him, again.

(Then we compete of course with our reminiscing, who has the most obscure factoid? Who really likes Slake the best? You know the drill.)