Reading with Little L: Independent Reads

1 03 2018

As Little L has started reading more on his own, he has discovered several series that have appealed to him. Once he finds a series he really likes, he plows through every book in the series!

Like many readers moving into chapter books, one of his first series was Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne.


He has also loved the I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis, which he found in his classroom library.


I read The Wizard of Oz to him a while ago, and when I brought the graphic novels adapted by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young home, he zipped through both sets of them in no time.


His love of Captain Underpants led him to the Dog Man graphic novels, and he’s anxiously awaiting the next book in that series.


He’s a huge fan of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. (Fun fact: a few years ago he saw the first movie on TV and called it “Diarrhea from a Wimpy Kid.” It’s a joke that won’t go away in our house!)


And last but not least, like his father, he loves everything Star Wars, and was so happy to find the Jedi Academy series.


Reading with Little L: First Chapter Books

18 11 2015

Now that Little L is a little older and has started school, we’ve started adding some chapter books into our regular reading time. The first chapter book we read was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

wizard of oz baum

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum; illustrated by W.W. Denslow

This title worked well because he loves the movie and was already familiar with the characters and basic storyline.

Another book we read that’s been turned into a movie (which Little L actually hasn’t even seen yet) was The Iron Giant.


The Iron Giant by Ted Hughes; illustrated by Dirk Zimmer

The nice thing about this book is that is already broken into parts that are intended to be read over the course of five nights.

Each year my library hosts a reading festival for children, and this year one of the authors was Debbie Dadey, co-author of the Bailey School Kids series. Little L loves monsters and supernatural beings, so I knew this series would be a perfect fit for him. I got the first book in the series (Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots) for him, and he was able to meet Ms. Dadey and have her sign his book at the festival. After finishing the first one, we’ve continued to read other books in the series as well.


Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones; illustrated by John Gurney

We’re currently working our way through the classic Winnie-the-Pooh. Again, I think Little L likes this one because he’s already familiar with the characters and even some of the stories.


Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne; illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard

I love reading with Little L, and now that he’s a little older, it’s so nice to be able branch out into longer, more complex books. It’s also wonderful to talk with him about the stories and hear his perspective on them.

He’s starting to begin reading some on his own now, but I hope he’ll let me continue to read with him for a long time.


Reading with Little L: Four-Year-Old Reads

7 01 2015

Since it’s almost Little L’s birthday again, here’s a quick (and I know, incomplete) round up of his favorite titles this past year.

Little L has been obsessed with princesses, especially the Disney ones, for quite a while now. So we have a big collection of Disney princess books that are on constant rotation. His very favorites have been Sleeping Beauty and Frozen. He especially loves this Little Golden version of the latter:



Frozen by Victoria Saxon; illustrated by Grace Lee, Massimiliano Narcisso, and Andrea Cagol

We also read from the many other Little Golden books that we own, especially these titles:

poky little puppy

The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey; illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren

shy little kitten

The Shy Little Kitten by Cathleen Schurr; illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren

house had enough

The House That Had Enough by P.E. King; illustrated by John O’Brien

This last title was a gift from my grandmother when I was young. It’s about a little girl who doesn’t clean up her belongings until all of her possessions and even the house itself run away. My grandmother bought individual copies for my sister and me. She even crossed out the name of the main character throughout the book and wrote in our names. This was a not at all subtle message that we needed to do a better job cleaning our rooms!

In addition to the Disney film collection, Little L also loves The Wizard of Oz. So, for our first venture into reading a chapter book together, I decided to go with this one, reading a chapter every night. Since he already knew the basic story and was familiar with the characters I think it was an easier transition than choosing a book that would have been completely new to him. It also led to some good discussions about how the movie is different from the book.

wizard of oz baum

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum; illustrated by W. W. Denslow

We also have a cool Scanimation version of the book that he saw at a book store and just had to have:

wizard oz scanimation

The Wizard of Oz adapted by Rufus Butler Seder

Another movie adaptation Little L really liked was Jumanji, and subsequently we did multiple readings of the wonderful book.


Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg; illustrated by the author

Probably his very favorite book this year has been The Foggy Foggy Forest. He quickly memorized it and now says that he can “read” it. It’s been very nice on evenings  that I’ve been tired (which is most evenings now that Little C is around, too) to let him “read” it to me. He also “reads” the Frozen book to us.

foggy forest

The Foggy Foggy Forest by Nick Sharratt; illustrated by the author

Speaking of reading, I’m really looking forward to the time when Little L begins reading (without quotes) on his own. He’s doing a great job with letter sounds and some word recognition, so I think it will happen pretty soon. Very exciting for this librarian mommy!

Speaking of letting Little L read to me, we also took a foray into wordless books. He especially enjoyed these:


Chalk by Bill Thomson

flora flamingo

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle


Journey by Aaron Becker

We also read nonfiction books when Little L became interested in certain subjects. Earlier this year there was a book about houses he wanted me to read to him over and over. Unfortunately it was a beginning reader title which meant it wasn’t exactly a stimulating read for me. That’s not to say this isn’t a fine title for someone just learning to read though!

where we live

Where We Live by Brenda Stones and Thea Feldman

Lately Little L’s been very interested in the human body and just last week he declared this title his favorite book after just one reading:

drop blood

A Drop of Blood by Paul Showers; illustrated by Edward Miller

This probably has something to do with the vampire theme as much as the subject matter. As a balance to his love of princesses, Little L is also very into zombies, monsters, vampires, and ghosts.

We had to read this book every night for at least a good month:

frankenstein sandwich

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex; illustrated by the author

Thank goodness it’s a really great, hilarious book that stands up to repeated readings!

And last but not least, the book that made Little L laugh so hard I wasn’t sure he was breathing for a second:

book no pictures

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak




Reading with Little L: Three-Year-Old Reads

1 12 2013

Ugh!  It’s been almost an entire year since I last blogged.  Which means I have a whole year’s worth of reading with Little L to cover.  Right now this blog is sort of just for me anyway, and I’d like to have somewhere to keep a record of our reading together.  So, here we go!

I’ve been trying to introduce Little L to some classic characters, and so far he’s chosen a few favorites:


Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans; ill. by the author


Frances by Russell Hoban; ill. by Lillian Hoban

max ruby

Max & Ruby by Rosemary Wells; ill. by the author

Some newer characters he’s really enjoyed:

pip posy

Pip and Posy by Axel Scheffler; ill. by the author

little rabbit

Little Rabbit by Harry Horse; ill. by the author

gaspard lisa

Gaspard and Lisa by Anne Gutman; ill. by Georg Hallensleben

betty bunny

Betty Bunny by Michael B. Kaplan; ill. by Stephane Jorisch

He’s also been very into fairy tales this year, particularly princess stories.  We really liked this collection:


Yummy by Lucy Cousins

I also loved introducing him to one of my favorite illustrators, Trina Schart Hyman, though her books may be a little dark for some three-year-olds.  Not Little L, who’s been a little obsessed with Michael Jackson’s Thriller video of late.


Rapunzel  by Barbara Rogasky; ill. by Trina Schart Hyman

sleeping beauty

The Sleeping Beauty by Trina Schart Hyman; ill. by the author

snow white

Snow White by Paul Heins; ill. by Trina Schart Hyman

little red riding hood

Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart Hyman; ill. by the author

We also have a set of adaptations of some of the Disney princess movies which have gotten a work out lately.

Little L also liked a trio of books which I worked into a “Clothing” storytime at the library:


Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback; ill. by the author

extra yarn

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett; ill. by Jon Klassen


Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters by K.G. Campbell; ill. by the author

A couple other newer titles we’ve read many times because we both love them:

creepy carrots

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds; ill. by Peter Brown

open this little book

Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier; ill. by Suzy Lee

Even though it’s December now, we’re still stuck on a couple of Halloween titles, too:

little old lady

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams; ill. by Megan Lloyd

witch's kitchen

What’s in the Witch’s Kitchen? by Nick Sharratt; ill. by the author

Little L is now old enough to be trusted with pop-up books.  Some of his favorites from our collection are:


Mommy? by Arthur Yorinks; ill. by Maurice Sendak; pop-ups by Matthew Reinhart

wizard of oz

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum; adapted, illustrated and pop-ups by Robert Sabuda

And last, but not least, because we will have another little guy in a few months, we’ve read this one a lot:

there's going to be a baby

There’s Going to Be a Baby by John Burningham; ill. by Helen Oxenbury

It’s a long list, but I’m sure that’s not even half of what we’ve read this year.  Can’t believe Little L will be four years old soon!

Reading with Little L: Almost 3-Year-Old Reads

3 12 2012

I meant to post this as a list of Little L’s 2 1/2-year-old reads, but time has just gotten away from me, and now he’s closer to 3 than 2 1/2!  However, these are some of his favorite reads these days.

These days we’re able to read some longer books that actually have a storyline, which is really great for the adult reading to Little L.  He has a few earlier favorites that he’s still really into, such as Thomas the Tank Engine (we’re still reading Thomas stories almost daily), but there are quite a few newer favorites as well.

He’s a big fan of the Anansi series by Eric A. Kimmel.  These have been long time read-aloud favorites for me in my storytimes, so I’m thrilled that he enjoys them, too.

Little L’s also a big fan of the Harry the Dirty Dog series by Gene Zion.  We found a collection of all the stories at our fabulous local used book store, and he loves to hear all three stories in one sitting.  There’s a reason these books are classics.  Action, humor, a cute dog – they have it all!

We’re also working on potty training right now, so we have a whole set of potty books we read on a regular basis:

Time to Pee by Mo Willems (we love everything by Mo!)

A Potty for Me by Karen Katz (lift the flap fun!)

My Big Boy Potty by Joanna Cole (a classic handed down from his older cousin)

Potty by Leslie Patricelli (we love this whole series of board books)

A few newer titles have made Little L’s favorites list as well.  Even though I know he doesn’t understand all the humor, he loves One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo.  I love this one as well.  Buzzeo’s story about a serious young boy who adopts a penguin is really funny, and the text is only enhanced by David Small’s wonderful illustrations.  I don’t have much luck in predicting Caldecott winners, but I think this one should be a contender for sure.

I recently introduced Little L to Polly Dunbar’s Tilly and Friends series, and he really latched on to it.  He wants to hear each of the books several times in a row.  This series is a little quiet, but funny, too, and I really like how clean the illustrations are – sort of simple, with lots of white space, but full of expression.  I think the artwork really drew Little L into these books.

That’s just a quick look at what we’re reading these days!

Reading with Little L: Pretend Reading

21 08 2012

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while.  I really want to document this fun phase of Little L’s reading development.  A few months ago he started “pretend reading”.  He does this in a couple of ways.  The first way he pretends to read is by looking at a book we’ve read together and reciting from memory the text for the book.  The other way he pretends to read is by looking through books that are new to him and talking or babbling as he flips through the pages.

I think Little L’s pretend reading began with reciting portions of books or entire books that he’s listened to over and over.  Where the Wild Things Are and The Snowy Day were definitely two of the first books he took it upon himself to “read” on his own.  He knows those two pretty much word for word (or at least what sounds similar to most of the words) and can recite them, matching up the text with the correct picture fairly easily.  He even uses the same inflections I use when reading those stories.  Eventually he began sitting on his own with books we’d only read a few times, repeating phrases and sounds he could recall from those books.  I know the Knuffle Bunny books by Mo Willems are a great example of this.

I love hearing Little L ominously say, “Twixie wee -ized sumting” (translation: “Trixie realized something”).  So adorable!

His interpretation of the exasperated “Bobo!” in I Must Have Bobo by Eileen Rosenthal is also pretty darn cute.

Perhaps because his father and I are both musically-inclined, musical books have also been a favorite of Little L, who enjoys singing the stories on his own after we’ve read them together.  Any version of “Wheels on the Bus” is a hit, but he especially loves Karen Katz’ The Babies on the Bus.

The Punk Farm books by Jarrett Krosoczka are also very popular with him, with their own versions of “Old MacDonald” (Punk Farm) and “Wheels on the Bus” (Punk Farm on Tour).

As I mentioned, Little L also likes to “read” new books as well.  When I bring home books from work, I like to give them to him all in one big stack.  He spreads them out around him on the floor and starts flipping through them one by one.  I love seeing what he’s drawn to and what holds his attention based on illustrations alone.  He sometimes sits for several minutes flipping back and forth through one book, pointing out familiar objects and naming them.

I know that none of this behavior is particularly unusual, but as a children’s librarian, it is so exciting for me to see my child embracing reading on his own.  It’s going to be even more exciting when he begins truly reading on his own!

Reading with Little L: Two Years Old

11 01 2012

I can’t believe how the time has flown by.  Little L turns two today!

I’ve loved watching him grow and learn – even though I’ve worked with children most of my life, it is truly different having a child of your own.

He’s also my little guinea pig when it comes to trying out books for toddlers.  It’s been fascinating, and even perplexing at times,  to see what books he’s drawn to and which ones he doesn’t have an interest in at all.  I know I can’t judge a book solely by his opinion, but his “insight” can be a valuable additional piece of information.

Here’s a sample of his favorite books these days:

Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney; illustrated by author

I first read this to Little L because it was the selection for Jumpstart’s Read for the Record program this year.  It quickly became one of his favorites, and now he loves the whole series.  He even went to bed holding one of the Llama Llama books last night (although he calls the title character “Mama Jama”).

Thomas’ Big Storybook by Rev. W. Awdry

Little L has become fairly obsessed with Thomas  and his engine friends these days.   Thanks to two older male cousins and some generous friends he already has multiple DVD’s, toys, and an impressive library of Thomas books.  This particular title was given to us by one of my mom’s coworkers whose son had outgrown it.  It has about twenty or so stories, and we’ve probably read each of them at least a dozen times.  I will say, at least it gives me some variety when I’m reading rather than having to read the same book over and over!

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague

We actually also  received a couple of the books in this series from the same coworker of my mom’s who gave us the Thomas books.   Little L really fell in love with the series though when we checked out one of the new Playaway Views from our library that had a couple of the stories on it along with other dinosaur stories.  He’s been in love ever since!  (As a little side note, we are loving the Views at our library.  As a parent, I can say that we’ve been glad to have a View with us on a long car trip and at other outings when we’ve needed to keep Little L occupied.  My favorite feature is that you can lock the player so that little fingers can’t mess anything up by pushing buttons.  As a librarian, it’s been nice to see such a positive response from our patrons since we started carrying them.)

If You See a Kitten by John Butler; illustrated by author

This has always been one of my favorite books to read aloud in baby and toddler storytimes.  It has such beautiful illustrations, and is a great interactive book.  If you’re not familiar with it, on each page an animal is introduced (kitten, elephant, crocodile, etc.) and the text suggests sounds to make when you see that particular animal (“ahhh”, “wow”, “help!”, respectively).  I love the reaction that you can get from kids when you read this book – laughter, surprise – and nothing has been better than the belly laughs and echoes of the sounds I’ve gotten from Little L.  He especially loves the picture of the crocodile at the end.  Sometimes he growls when he sees it and other times he’ll echo my “Help!” or even just scream.  So hilarious!