And it's back to We Recommend, where my girls and I use our superpowers
to figure out the exact right book recommendation for whomever writes
in to ask. Just send us a description of the kid you're talking about,
what he or she likes and does like, any other relevant (or irrelevant,
why not?) information, and we'll dip into our collective
unconsciousness and come up with the perfect book, which will
inevitably be overshadowed by the amazing and insightful
recommendations from the commenters. So go ahead, test us!
And now, we have a question about those transitional books, those longer picture books that are the excellent province of a certain time in childhood, complicated stories meant to be read aloud, because they're too hard for 1st graders to read to themselves, and then all of sudden everyone's too old. See here:
I have a three year old, and
besides what she reads at school, our time spent reading is one of the
last fun things we do before turning out the lights. She selects three
books and we snuggle up for what usually ends up being way too long and
past her bedtime. There really aren't any that she just loves right
now, and of course, they're all the pretty quick toddler fare — Little
Golden Books, Dr. Seuss (which she doesn't really like), Arthur the
Aardvark, some reading primers which are boooooring, Richard Scarry,
Madeline, Pinkalicious, things like that. I try to vary things up a
little. At what age do kids get into being read to, like, longer books
— a bit each night? My husband reads Just So Stories to her quite a
bit, but it's usually just a piece here and there. But, it's not the
type of thing where on Monday we just can't wait to get to Tuesday to
find out what happened…! So, what books are the three year old/four
year olds into right now? What age should we be introducing longer
The short answer here: I don't know. I mean, the age is so variable! Some kids are hearing All of a Kind Family at age three, and are perfectly happy, and other kids are going strong with Richard Scarry (whom I LOVE—no one on earth is better at creating the silly, crazy accidents that kids love with all their tiny zany hearts). It sounds like the mother here is bored, and I completely identify with that. So I would try something new, something longer, because why not? Especially if she is not in love right now. Nothing is better than watching a kid be in love.
I'm thinking of all the excellent options: older picture books (in my view) tend to be a bit more sophisticated. Things like the original Babar books, Chester the Worldly Pig, Make Way for Ducklings, are all really excellent, with longer more complicated stories. Also Mike Mulligan and The Little House…they're so many amazing books. Oh, and Dr. DeSoto and Brave Irene by William Steig! There's an amazing wealth to choose from. It's just a little tricky because we don't know so much about what the child's particular tastes are, but I would sample from the above.
You could even try more episodic novels—All of a Kind Family, for instance, which lends itself well to bedtime, and the Just So stories were very big for us back then. As for the cliffhanger from Monday to Tuesday, for my kids plot wasn't huge when they were 3. If there was plot tension it more freaked them out than anything.
But from my heart, what I recommend? Since we appear to be on a crying jag here, the one that always kills me:
But is it going to help them out of their rut? Who knows? What would you guys recommend?