After 2 weeks of vacation Smarty is at 20 books read on her own, a mixture of chapter books and picture books. In fact, the number is much higher, but we are not recording “repeat reads” from our own library or books she is reading in her Y summer camp. Interestingly, she refuses to read non-fictional “fact books” lately claiming that she loves fantasy more. It’s quite a reversal from a few months ago when she was finding fantasy too scary. We are still reading plodding through 101 Read-Aloud Bible Stories (we finally got Joshua and his people to Canaan), but I started to insist on reading one picture book in the evening in addition to two Bible stories, because I wanted some variety for myself
Humphrey series by Betty G. Birney continues to be a big hit here. The books are long and technically targeted to older readers, but the story (that Smarty correctly deemed to be a fantasy and not a real story) is very engaging, and even though I am not a big fan of hamsters, I can’t help but root for the main character of the book. There are many subplots introducing various problems that Humphrey solves very successfully. I wish some adults were as good at solving problems as this hamster!
Smarty finally chose the next country for our “read around the world” program – South Africa. Unfortunately, she didn’t like A South African Night too much, since it doesn’t contain a lot of text and better suited for younger children, but illustrations by Rachel Isadora (who is also an author) are beautiful and show great contrast between busy Johannesburg and wild life in Kruger park. The good news is that we read another book about South Africa that Smarty loved, and I will review it in a separate post.
My husband picked up Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan following a librarian’s recommendation. I had to start the book with Smarty to draw her in, but she read most of the book and all the sequels on her own. This is a nice series for older kids who like Little House books. From some things that Smarty told me I could see that she doesn’t comprehend all the complex family dynamics fully, but she read some of the books several times trying to get deeper into the story and figure things out. Maybe after we are finally done with the Bible Stories (a good month away!), we’ll reread Sarah series together.
Smarty was so amused with Lots of Lice by Bobbi Katz that she insisted on reading it aloud to me. She never knew about lice before going to school, but now Y performs lice checks every so often. As many children her age, she is fascinated by gross things. The book is told in verse, and the narrator is a louse. It gives readers advice on what to do or what not to do, which is, of course, the opposite of what you would do to fight lice. It’s a pretty funny book and good for a lesson on lice if you ever need one.