I’ve been reading aloud to Jayce since he was four months old. We started with one-word board books and then progressed to picture books before landing where we are now, on chapter books. I can’t say for sure whether his wild success as an early reader is due to our daily story hour, but I suspect it plays a big part. He claims that his favorite time of the day is when we snuggle up in the rocker and settle in for a chapter or two. Confession: it’s my favorite time of the day, too.
We’ve read many a book. While I can honestly tell you that we did try a few duds (surprisingly, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan was downright torturous) the vast majority of our reads have been thoroughly enjoyed. I thought I’d share our favorites here (in no particular order), for those who might be in search of a good read aloud.
If I’m not mistaken, this was the first chapter book we read. I loved the innocent stories of life on the farm. Jayce was excited to see what Charlotte would “write” in her web next. This was a great “starter” chapter book because we were able to follow it up by watching the movie.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
This was one we just picked up at the library on a whim but oh my goodness I absolutely loved it. It was a super easy read–the heartwarming story of a china rabbit and the many “owners” who love him over the course of a generation. I was surprised at just how emotionally vested I became in that silly china rabbit!
The Indian in the Cupboard
This is the book we’ve most recently finished. I thought it was just okay, but I’m including it in this list anyway because Jayce really enjoyed it. For me, it lacked the story elements of a true classic: an underlying good vs. evil theme, sacrificial love, growth in the protagonist. Apparently, though, the possibility that plastic figurines could come to life captured Jayce’s imagination and ran with it.
Because of Winn-Dixie
I loved this book. It includes a quirky, colorful cast of characters, a rich setting that exudes country charm, and a lost and lonely little girl who slowly finds her way. And when you toss a stray dog into the mix, it’s a sure hit with most any child. It’s a heartwarming, easy read.
James and the Giant Peach
While it’s certainly anything but delicate when it comes to the death of the aunts, the story goes on from there to spin an adventurous tale about a boy and some bugs who embark on an incredible journey with a giant peach as their vessel. This is another one that we followed up by watching the movie and then talking about how we pictured the characters and settings differently as we read.
The Trumpet of the Swan
I know, I know–another E.B. White selection. Clearly, I’m a fan. This is a charming animal story that children and adults alike can appreciate. Perhaps I was partial to this book because it shows (in a very lighthearted manner) that being born differently doesn’t preclude one from going on to do great things.
The Chronicles of Narnia (all seven books)
Having seen the major motion pictures, I knew I was in for a treat when we settled in to read the entire series. I was not disappointed. C.S. Lewis was truly a brilliant writer. He seamlessly weaves adventure and suspense into a timeless battle of good vs. evil. So, too, does he illustrate and parallel the unconditional, sacrificial love God has for His children. I cannot tell you how many times I got choked up while reading these books aloud to Jayce. I wish that I’d read the entire series to each of my kids. This is definitely A+ material that I wholeheartedly recommend.
This is the cute little tale of a mouse born into a human family. Stuart’s adventures start at home and continue as he sets off to conquer the world. This cool and collected little guy encounters many a challenge along the way but he takes each of them in stride and eventually discovers that nothing is impossible when you set your mind to the task.
The Tale of Despereaux
Another little mouse story big on heart, this book offers a modern twist on a classic theme. Desperaux’s love of adventure and literacy lead him on a journey that eventually proves that even the littlest among us can accomplish great things.
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