Sunday, February 10, 2013

Striking Out

So after a string of successful read-alouds, I've struck out with my last few choices.  My 7-year-old chose The Ballad of Lucy Whipple, which I knew was too hard for her and we gave up halfway. She finally admitted to me that she didn't like The Cricket in Times Square.  Then, not remembering when I read Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, just remembering that I read it and liked it, we tried that.  Big mistake.  The language - both the vocabulary, the sentence construction, not to mention the use of dialect - was way over her head and once again, we had to stop.  Same with Strawberry Girl (which I hadn't read previously).  We also gave up on Edgar Eager's Half Magic a while ago because it was both too hard (she had no context for the medieval jousting scenes and I had trouble explaining it) and, to her, scary.

Now I'm considering The Trumpet of the Swan or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which I fear may be too scary or disturbing for her).  I've also thought of Heidi and Cheaper by the Dozen recently, both of which I loved as a kid, and the sequel to which I read every summer at our country house, but again, I can't remember at what age I first read them.  I think The Secret Garden and A Little Princess should wait a year or so.  And I returned to Eleanor Estes recently and found Ginger Pye boring, I confess.

I want a book that she can't read on her own, whether it's above her level because of vocabulary, language, or emotional or historical context - but not too hard.  And I want a book I'm going to enjoy too.

We've hit most of the other classics.  Any other suggestions are appreciated!  What are you reading to your 7-year-old/second grader?


  1. Have you read Ursula LeGuin's Catwings? Very short chapter books, but fun read-alouds. It might be a refreshing way to jump-start story time again.

    How about Alexander Key's _Escape to Witch Mountain_? I think my son loved _Ronia the Robber's Daughter_ at this age, which is by Astrid Lindgren, who also wrote the Pippi books.

  2. We just started The Enormous Egg. What about Homer Price? Beth's suggestion of Catwings, is good, too. Have you read My Father's Dragon out loud yet? Does she like fantasy? Baum's Sky Island and Sea Fairies were favorites of mine as a girl.

  3. Thanks for all the ideas. I don't know any of those (except My Father's Dragon and Homer Price - she's read the latter) so I'll check them out. She does not like fantasy or anything remotely scary. We just started Babe by Dick King-Smith and that seems promising.

  4. We like The Seven Crowns by Eleanor Frances Lattimore.

  5. What about THe Animal Family by Randall Jarrell. It has a mermaid in it, but I wouldn't say it was fantasy, no more than Catwings anyway. My Year 2s like Harry the Poisonous Centipede by Lynne Reid Banks and Victor's Quest by Pamela Freeman.

  6. Thanks, Kinderbooks! I have had The Animal Family on hold forever at the library and now I think it's in "in transit" purgatory... one never knows when it may show up!