Monday, June 21, 2010

Books-n-Boys: Library Day

I envision Library Day as a peaceful immersion into the fascinating world of children's literature.  I envision my sons and I wading through the books with calm even strokes, enjoying the feel of them between our fingers, until we forget that time is passing.  And then, the perfect tale will catch our eyes and we will swim toward it and float upon the joy of our discovery. I envision leaving the library with a satisfaction that I can feel in my lungs and muscles.  I envision this, but Library Day is not like this at all.  Instead, my boys race ahead of me and dive head first into the stacks, splashing chapter books and graphic novels all over the floor.  I can hardly keep them all in my sight as they dip in and out of the aisles.  Before I can even get used to the change in temperature, they are making their way to the checkout counter.  When we leave, the only thing I feel in my lungs is the makings of an enormous sigh.

But, I look forward to Library Day every week and so do the boys.

Today we returned a book I loved, Pete & Pickles by Berkeley Breathed, most famous for his comic strips, Bloom County and Outlands.The cover wooed me with a tiny pig playing gondolier atop the belly of an elephant. The story was incredibly touching without being sappy -- the pig and the elephant are an unlikely, unplanned pair who end up breathing life into each other.  Not only was the story wonderful, the illustrations were their own special delight.  Famous works provide the inspiration for many of the pages and the art becomes as engaging as the characters.

Nicholas is on a Geronimo Stilton kick and checked out three new Stilton books today. We were first introduced to Geronimo when we received an audio version on CD of The Curse of the Cheese Pyramid (Geronimo Stilton, No. 2) as part of a Chik-Fil-A kid's meal.  When we started reading the books ourselves, we loved the fun fonts used throughout the book and the humorous illustrations.  The books also have maps, factual reports and other expository materials that enhance the story.  Nicholas sometimes has me read the books to him and sometimes he "reads" them on his own.  They are really above his reading level, but because of the styled fonts, the colorful pictures and the additional info I mentioned, he feels like he is reading on his own.  I think this is a great sign, actually, because it shows that he is willing to go beyond his comfort zone and push himself into an area that is a bit too advanced.  He isn't discouraged by it at all, evidenced by the three books that made today's cut.

We should finish James and the Giant Peach this week (only a few chapters to go) and then we will begin The Phantom Tollbooth (the boys have been more receptive to it since we received it as a gift from someone we like).  I am looking forward to seeing how they let James go and let Milo in.

Until the next Books-n-Boys,

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