My daughter doesn’t sit still. Ever. She’s never been one to sit quietly and flip through a picture book or color a bunch of pictures, until very very recently (like the last 3 weeks). And even then her attention span is that of a gnat. At bedtime, she would make it through the reading aloud of one relatively short picture book and wouldn’t tolerate books with minimal pictures or more than about 25 words on a page.
As a life-long obsessive reader who would rarely like be doing anything else, this distresses me. I know everyone is different and if she turns out to only be a casual reader, she’ll be passionate about something else and that’s totally fine. However, I can’t help but hold out hope that she’ll grow up to be like her mama and carry a book with her wherever she goes “just in case.”
Recently the lovely folks at Macmillan sent us a game-changer.
It’s listed as for ages 5-8, and as my wee one is 4 and change, but I took a chance. I introduced it at bedtime last weekend as a “big girl chapter book” and she took the bait. As a family we read a chapter a night this week. The story is very engaging, pictures are sparse (but also adorable), and every chapter ends on a cliff hanger. My kid, my always active hooligan, loved it. She begged me to keep going every night. Part of it was the wonderful story full of winged animals and adventure, and part of it was the thrill of being grown up, of doing something she might get to do next year in kindergarten.
Would I recommend this book to others? Heck yeah. It’s girly enough for the princesses, but also suspenseful and full of surprises for those who shun the pink. And, bonus, there are more books in the series, which we will be buying immediately. A big thanks to Lily Small and the lovelies at Macmillan for keeping my dream of raising a reader alive.
I would also welcome suggestions of more books guaranteed to hook reluctant young readers – please share if you know of some!