See that list over there in the sidebar that’s titled “Lulu’s Booklog”? Well, I’m removing it as soon as I get a minute to fiddle with my widgets. (Isn’t that fun–fiddle with my widgets. Ha!) There’s no way I can keep up with all the stuff that Lulu reads and re-reads. It just can’t be done, at least not by this mama of three who has more balls in the air right now than she can possibly juggle. That girl is a reading machine! I try to have her read aloud every day, in addition to all the silent reading she does. She doesn’t necessarily like to do this, but I insist. It’s just a part of her daily work. I try to make her slow down and really read her words, pronounce them correctly. She has a tendency to speed through and get the idea of what she’s reading, without noticing the particulars of the actual words. While this probably works well for her pleasure reading, it’s not a habit I want to promote in her reading aloud. In addition to this, more challenging material will require closer attention. Most of the time for her read-aloud, I just have her read from whatever she’s reading at the moment. However, I saw 26 Fairmount Avenue by Tomie DePaola on the shelf at the library and remembered that Heidi @ Mt. Hope Chronicles raved about this one sometime in the past. I figured with a Newbery honor to its credit (not to mention being written by such a well-loved and prolific writer), we couldn’t go wrong, so I picked it up for Lulu to read aloud to us, cover to cover.
Well, Lulu didn’t love it, but Louise and I surely enjoyed it. Actually, I think Lulu probably enjoyed it way more than she let on; it’s more an “I’m going to play this off as a pain so I don’t blow my cover” situation. What’s not to love? It’s the story of Tomie DePaola’s life as a five year old, the younger son of a family living in Meriden, Connecticut, in the late 1930s. The main problem in the story is the protracted building of the DePaola family’s house on 26 Fairmount Avenue. Through all of this, though, we get to know the whole family, from Nana Upstairs (Have you read his picture book about her? To quote one of my favorite movies, “Read it with a box of Kleenex.”) to his grandpa Tom. In the story, Tomie does lots of things that should make a kid smile: he and Nana Upstairs eat chocolate candy, only it isn’t chocolate candy. (Hint: he finds it in the medicine cabinet.) He goes to see Snow White and the Seven Dwarves at the theater, only he is incensed that the movie doesn’t follow the Grimm’s version closely enough to suit him. He decides that since he can’t learn to read at kindergarten, he might as well go home. The chapters are episodic and short, usually seven or eight pages. Black and white drawings by DePaola are found on every page. Really, this is just about as close perfect as you can get for a read-aloud or silent read for a young child who tires easily. I give it a Highly Recommended and am eager to read the rest of the books in the series.
- My review of The Cloud Book by Tomie DePaola
- My review of Tomie DePaola’s Book of Bible Stories
- My review of Clown of God by Tomie DePaola
- My reviews of The Legend of the Poinsettia and The Night of Las Posadas by Tomie DePaola
- Tomie DePaola’s website
- Tomie DePaola’s blog
Who does the reading aloud at your house? Do you always do it, or do you hand over the reins to your children sometimes? Tell me about it in the comments, and don’t forget to link up your RAT posts, as well.
Happy Read Aloud Thursday!