“Mom, this is so cool!” he said about 15 times in a row in what was most certainly NOT a library voice. "Look at all these bad boys."
I wasn’t too keen on the book, which features lots of knights wielding axes and lances and the “LEGO” brand named stamped across the cover, but Will's desire to get the book was way too intense to veto. It’s a good reminder to me that my idea of a quality book doesn’t necessarily matter all that much. Will studied this book many times independently and he asked about words as we read so that by the end of the story he had learned about chasms and lances -- and shudders and gulps – and found great satisfaction in reading the book repeatedly with Rob and me.
So I let Will pick a few things that tempt him when we go to the library. But he tends to want every book he touches – even though he doesn’t necessarily enjoy them all that much once we’re home. So I try to do a good bit of the book-finding myself. Now that I’ve exhausted the Caldecott shelf at the library, I’m starting to keep a library list – this is my equivalent of a shopping list for the library. As I hear about books I’d like to read with Will, or find recommendations in an article or on a blog, I’ll jot them down, and look up the titles on the library’s online catalog to see what’s available there before we go. Then while Will browses through books, I can go straight to a few titles I think we’re likely to enjoy.
On a recent trip, I picked up five titles recommended in an article entitled “The Unheralded Classics” in the March issue of Cookie Magazine – which featured “The 33 Best Children’s Books You’re Probably Not Reading Yet.”
Here are two (billed as books for 4- to 6-year-olds) that we especially loved:
"The Gruffalo" by Julia Donaldson Will thinks this story of a clever mouse and his invented Gruffalo (that just happens to be real) is really funny. We’ve read it again and again.
"Amos and Boris" by William Steig I love this story of life-saving friendship between a whale and a mouse – and Will does too.
How do you choose books at the library? Any recent favorites for my library list?