It has been a long time since I’ve had enough foresight to participate in Kids’ Picks over at 5 Minutes for Books, but I’ve had this post percolating in my brain for a long time. I’m glad to finally have the motivation to get it written and posted!
As I’ve said more times than I can count, audiobooks are a staple here at the House of Hope. I honestly believe that Lulu, especially, would spend half of her day everyday listening to something (and it would be something related to Little House, usually). I would estimate that the girls average 1 1/2 to 2 hours of listening time on most days: one hour at rest time and the remainder at bedtime or other snatches of time during the day when they need occupying. In fact, I hear Little Town on the Prairie even as I’m writing this.
I often feel disconnected from what they’re listening to since I’m usually using that time to do other things, so I don’t always write about it here at Hope Is the Word. However, there have been a few stories they’ve listened to over the past six months or so that I really want to record here, and due to various circumstances, I feel like I have at least a little bit to say about them, so here goes:
I’m not sure how I missed Eleanor Estes’ Newbery Medal-winning Ginger Pye as a child, but I’m really glad my girls have had the pleasure of enjoying this fun and suspenseful story (over and over and over again 😉 ). They’ve listened to it enough times that I know the whole story, more or less, and I have been amused by the things they’ve picked up and used in their imaginative play as a result. Louise, especially, has an affinity for names, and more than one of her imaginary playmates or dolls has been named Addie Eagan (spelling? Remember, when I haven’t read it, I’m not responsible for spelling it correctly!). Ginger Pye is a heartwarming dog story with some quirky characters, and it’s a mystery, to boot. I think it would make a great choice for the Children’s Classics Mystery Challenge. I think I might just read it aloud to my girls for the challenge! (I really am always curious after I listen to some work to see just how all of those names, etc., are spelled.) My girls like this one so much, they’ll be thrilled!
This next book is one I picked out for them at the library for purely sentimental reasons: I loved it myself as a child. Since my girls love pioneer stories, I figured they’d enjoy this one, too. They listened to it several times, and we listened to part of the story on at least one short trip. Carol Ryrie Brink’s Caddie Woodlawn is another Newbery Medal winner. I’m sure that most people are familiar with the story, but I wanted to share it here because my girls did love it and I have my own particular memory of it: I have never, ever forgotten the fact that one of the brothers (Warren, I think) messed up his recitation for school. He was supposed to say, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Instead, he said, “If at first you don’t fricassee, fry, fry a hen.” I’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to determine why this has remained lodged in my brain. 😉
The next couple of audiobooks are ones I’m not as familiar with, but they definitely qualify as kids’ picks. I picked up a couple of the Mercy Watson stories simply on name recognition: I’ve read enough of Kate DiCamillo to know that she’s good. My girls found the endearing stories about this beloved pet pig to be laugh-out-loud funny, and I’ll admit that I did, too. We listened to a couple of the stories over and over again when we went on vacation last fall, and we all got in on the fun. Since then, we’ve checked out another one of the collections (there are two stories per each collection, I believe), and it was met with just as much enthusiasm and laughter all around. Since I’ve never seen an actual copy of one of these books, I can’t say for sure, but Ms. DiCamillo’s website has them categorized as “Early Chapter Books,” so I’m thinking these might be a good series to keep in mind for my blossoming reader.
Speaking of a blossoming reader (nice segway, huh?), I just have to share this last book, not just because it’s fun and my girls really liked it in audio, but also because I think it might mark a turning point in Lulu’s journey toward independent reading. We ran errands on Saturday and went on a little roadtrip to a neighboring town for shopping, etc.–mainly just to get out of the house after a week of sickness and being mostly cooped up. We usually do bring along a longer audiobook for any trip of an hour or more, but I failed to get one and put it in the van. Louise had chosen How I Became a Pirate as her bring-along entertainment for the trip, and it just so happens that this particular book is one that came with a CD of the story. Guess what we listened to five or six times before we even made it out of town? You guessed it. It is a fun story, and I think my girls were perplexed about the whole pirate thing (we haven’t read anything with pirates in it to my recollection up until now)–Green teeth? “Aaargh?” Sea chanteys? “Shiver me timbers”? I don’t think they looked at the pictures much in the van; they just enjoyed listening. When we got home, Lulu brought me the book and proudly read to me from a page in the middle of the story. Granted, she had listened to it multiple times that day, but she was obviously working hard to sound out the words. Bingo! While she is making great progress in her reading, she is a little bit reluctant to apply it outside of “school time.” This has changed somewhat over the past few weeks, but I was thrilled when she voluntarily brought me this picture book and shared with me what she could do. I definitely consider that a Kid’s Pick!
Reading aloud to my children is truly one of the highlights of my day, but I am so thankful to have access to so many great audiobooks to supplement what I do with them. Right now for my girls a day without an audiobook is almost unthinkable. While I suspect this will probably change as they both become independent readers, I’m glad that they have been able to meet so many wonderful characters through the stories they’ve heard in this way.