Our first chapter book

Holden’s preschool started reading “chapter books” before naptime at the beginning of the school year. I wasn’t familiar with the term, but as a college-educated woman, I figured it out soon enough. A chapter book is a book with chapters and maybe some pages with no pictures at all.

Whoa. Harry Potter, here we come.

Our children’s books are filled with large color pictures (and many of them still rhyme). So, this was big news. I wondered if both Holden (4 and a half) and Milo (nearly 3) would willingly sit through longer stories at bedtime.

Until now, our ritual generally involves each boy choosing a short book followed by me choosing a “sleepytime” book. Unless we run out of time, in which case I scale back the volume.

dragon-bookAs an experiment this past weekend at the library, I asked the librarian about chapter books. She was well prepared for me, and she readily busted out a list of recommendations for the pre-K crowd.

Though Holden was afraid of the title, she strongly recommended My Father’s Dragon as a good introductory chapter book. Having just initiated a Lord of the Rings movie binge myself (#geekyandlovingit), I had to take her word that the book was tame enough for my sensitive son.

I’m pleased to report, the experiment was a total success. We read two or three chapters each night and worked our way through the ten chapter book in four nights. Each night, the boys begged for “just one more chapter” (then, when I refused, “one more page” and even “one more word!”). When Holden flipped the page and pointed to a single word — “twisted” — I acquiesced and read it to him. Otherwise, I held a firm line.

We frequently referred to the map inside the cover to trace the heroes journey around the islands. Milo surprised me by being every bit as engaged in the story and map of the adventure.

Immediately following our reading time, I joined Alec for parts one and two of Lord of the Rings and am pleased to report I didn’t confuse any of my dragons, characters, or hand-drawn maps with the book.

It turns out that, like LOTR, My Father’s Dragon is also available as a trilogy. So I can’t make you any promises about keeping all the characters and stories straight once we finish all the movies and the books (but for now, I’m good)!

Before we check out the full series of Elmer’s tall tales, we’re going to start Holden’s true first choice, The Mouse and the Motorcycle (the book with the notso scary title).

Anyone else have any forays into longer stories to share?