What we’re reading

I’m one of those people who reads multiple books at once. One is on my bedside table, one is on the couch, one is in the kitchen, and I grab the closest one and continue. Bookmarks are never around when I need them. Occasionally I use scraps of paper or random store receipts.

Of course a good chunk of my daily reading consists of reading to my kids. We’ve developed a pattern in which they read picture books on their own, and we save the chapter books for bedtime stories. It works well. So here’s our current reading list:

“Circus Mirandus,” by Cassie Beasley – It’s her first novel and it’s great. I pre-read it myself before starting it with my son, and he’s enjoying it as much as I did. It’s about a magic circus, and also the magic of two offbeat people discovering a friendship, as well as the sad truth that magic can’t fix everything.

“Prince Caspian,” by C.S. Lewis – Well, the Narnia books really are a requirement. The kids liked “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” so much that we went right on to the next one. (Yes, I know there is some dispute about what order to read the books in. I think whatever order you pick is the right order.) Now they’re dragging a plush lion around the house and calling it Aslan.

“Flora & Ulysses,” by Kate DiCamillo – Because I’m going through all of her books now in sheer disbelief that I hadn’t discovered them sooner. This one’s hilarious and heartwarming in an oddball way, which I’m pretty sure is a good way to describe most of her books. Also, the squirrel writes lovely poems.

“Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs,” by Mo Willems and “Wolfie the Bunny,” by Ame Dyckman – I’m just practicing those. I’m bringing them to school for Read Across America Day, and I’ve learned the hard way, if you’re going to read a book aloud to kids, you’re basically reading the words upside down. Pre-reading is helpful.

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Catching up on reading

It was a lovely holiday with too much food, and though we haven’t gotten around to taking down the decorations yet (we have till Valentine’s Day on that, right? Some of the lights are red!), I did get in some book time. Because anytime is book time.

I finally got my copies of Tara Lazar’s “Little Red Gliding Hood” and Josh Funk’s “Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast,” spied in a fantastic bookstore in New York State. “Gliding Hood” is hysterical — we had fun pointing out all the other random fairy tale characters swirling around the ice next to Red and her *ahem* unusual skating partner. “Lady Pancake” is the most madcap refrigerator tour I’ve ever seen, with a down-to-the-wire finish that left me … well, hungry. I like French toast. Okay, and pancakes.

I’ve been catching up on Kate DiCamillo’s books because inexplicably I had not read them before, and I finished most of “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” in one night, some of it through tears. I also picked up a copy of “The Tale of Despereaux,” which I already loved, and was reading it to my son until he snuck ahead and finished it without me. Well, fine then.

I also finally got to Matt de la Pena’s “Last Stop on Market Street,” which has a terrific sort of poetry to it (I love the dialogue), and Mac Barnett’s “Extra Yarn,” which has exactly the right modern-day fairy-tale feel.

And when not reading, I got some revising done. So generally, a productive break. Now that we’re all back to our regular schedules, let’s see how this month goes.

Our summer of reading

Tonight my son wanted to do bedtime reading with a flashlight, which seemed like a summer-ish thing to do, so I clicked my phone light on (because what did people do before smartphones?) and we started “The One in the Middle Is the Green Kangaroo.” Technically I suppose you should read a scary story by flashlight, but scary stories are not his thing. I’m not foreseeing any Goosebumps books in his future.

“Green Kangaroo” is the second Judy Blume book this summer, the first being “Freckle Juice,” and both of which are big hits here. We’re taking a break from Roald Dahl, having just finished “Danny the Champion of the World,” and also I think having finished all the Dahl books we own. For “Matilda,” we’ll have to hit up the library.

My daughter, deep in princess-land, likes the Very Fairy Princess books, and there have been repeat readings of “The Day the Crayons Quit” (Drew Daywalt), “The Monstore” (Tara Lazar) and “Baby Penguins Love Their Mama” (Melissa Guion). I keep wondering whether my soon-to-be-kindergartner — who insists on reading to me, these days, instead of the other way around — is ready for chapter books. Because if she is, I found a copy of “The Velveteen Rabbit” at a flea market recently and it’s in terrific condition, just waiting to be read to someone.

Me, I’ve been reading “Boy Without Instructions” by Penny Williams, about the author’s struggles to raise her son with ADHD. (I can relate.) Though I think the next book will deal in less weighty subjects. Sitting on my nightstand is “The Bridesmaid” by Hailey Abbott, which is kinda sorta research for me, since I like to see how my wedding book would stack up against other wedding books. All research should be this fun.

So I’d call this a pretty productive summer, and I’m looking forward to the flashlight reading session tomorrow.