Recently the boy and I started reading chapter books together at night before his bedtime. Most every night after his pajamas are on and his teeth are brushed and he's rinsed his mouth with fluoride rinse (he is soooooo proud of his "moufwash"), we both curl up into the denim rocking chair in his room to enjoy a chapter or two. We initiated this leap into chapter books by making a homemade bookmark specially for these nighttime readings, covered in scribbles and stickers galore. The boy absolutely treasures his little bookmark and holds onto it dearly while I read to him. We started out with this dragon book with three stories in it.
Although I was quite the bookworm as a child (and still am), I had never read those stories, but we both loved them.
The next book we tackled was a short chapter book from my childhood -- "Puff the Magic Dragon" -- the story from the famous song, based on the TV cartoon special I remember watching on TV in the 1980's. I'm pretty sure it would have been one of the treasures I brought home from my elementary school's book fair. Remember those? Oh, I used to salivate when my teacher would pass out the little paper catalogs and carefully star my selections. I remember saving up my money specifically for these book fairs, and I was always so excited to purchase my books. When my boy saw the cartoon version of Puff and Jackie Draper on the cover, he was insistent that we read it next.
Now we are into the "Mercy Watson" stories by Kate DiCamillo, the same author of "Because of Winn-Dixie" and "The Tale of Desperaux". I had seen her books in my local bookstore and purchased a couple to take with me to a booksigning at our main library downtown. Even though my son was only a toddler at the time, I went to the booksigning by myself armed with my two books and stood in line to get them signed. The event was specifically geared towards the kids and teenagers in our city and their families who were there specifically for the creative writing contest awards ceremony, which I sat through only because I wanted to get those books signed. I'm so glad I went. Her speech was very interesting, and I was glad to meet her in person. Even though my son still doesn't understand the concept of owning books signed by the actual author, someday he will think it is way cool that his mama did that for him, or at least I hope he will. It ended up that she was only supposed to sign one book per person, but she was kind and went ahead and signed two quickly for me while her editor looked on, glaring down her nose at me. Who cares. I was so excited!
Since then I have collected a few more of the Mercy Watson hardbacks via Paperback Swap.
They are quick little chapter books (we can usually breeze through half a book a night if we really wanted to), but that makes them especially perfect for my little guy's age. The illustrations are so darling, and the writing, of course, is quite witty. Right now we're in the second book.
So, what's on your bookshelf?