Page Turners

Tub People and Doll People

I’m alive and still holding my place in my book! Just a moment ago I nearly choked on an entire lime slice in my salad. I eat at this restaurant a couple of times each week and enjoy this particular salad often, which means I know it includes a large piece of lime in it.

“So what happened?” you ask. Well, today while I was eating I was also engrossed in a book that both of my 83-year old grandmothers would describe as ‘a real page turner.’

Have you ever read a book that deserves such a description? If so, you can now understand the lime-to-choking ratio a little better.

But have you ever read such a book to children? These treasured gems have held their spell over my daughters (and me) for 18 years and counting.

I was reading just such a story after dinner the other night when I paused to see if anyone at the table was still listening. And there was our 8-year old, eyes focused, listening so intently that her mouth hung open. She was entranced with the story and didn’t even realize I had paused in its telling. When she finally noticed, she laughed and said, “Don’t stop now!” We read on.

Page turners that you read with your kids have so much to do with the types of books you and your kids BOTH enjoy. It is a bit of trial and error, deciding what you really enjoy reading, what your kids enjoy listening to you read to them, and being willing to scrap a book if neither of you likes it after all.

I can still remember when my wonderfully creative and energetic aunt, one of the truly great middle-school teachers of our time, began reading the very first book in the Harry Potter series to her classes. It was the late 1990’s and this newly published character was not as pervasively popular across the country as it would soon become. She read this book and, I clearly remember her describing it to me, her students were stopped in their tracks by it. They couldn’t get enough and would beg her to read just one more page…..that’s a page turner!

Here at home, we especially like to read stories that let us look behind the scenes into the lives and worlds of otherwise inanimate objects….picture books like The Tub People and its follow-up, The Tub People’s Christmas by Pam Conrad; chapter books like Doll People, The Runaway Dolls, and its follow-up, The Meanest Doll in the World by Ann Martin & Laura Godwin; and The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks. This is why we enjoyed the new movie “Wreck-It Ralph” so much. There is nothing like a story that takes something so normal and daily in the lives of real people, and then gives you that “what if it came to life when you weren’t looking” scenario.

It’s worth it for you as the dad to choose something you’ll be nearly UNable to put down when you’re reading to the kids, especially after a long day of work and life away from them and home. I guarantee success here…because you can’t go wrong reading to your kids.

Just keep the slices of lime at a safe distance!