I’ve written before about how I use bedtime reading to seed Biggie’s reading with more challenging material. Nowadays we don’t do it as consistently; some nights we make exceptions because we’re watching (as a family) a show on PBS or, as we did last night, Penn & Teller’s Fool Us (Biggie’s really into magic right now).
We just finished Watership Down by Richard Adams, one of my personal favorites and, I’m happy to report, now one of Biggie’s. Often called “Lord of the Rings with rabbits,” it is a good stepping-stone into Tolkien but immensely charming on its own merits. It brings wonderful attention and heightens awareness about the natural world since most of the book is told from the rabbits’ point-of-view. Richard Adams conceived of it as tales he improvised for his daughters on long car journeys, and there’s a real masterful yarn-spinning aspect to it—it’s full of imagined folklore and strange societies and dangerous heists and other derring-do. The language can be advanced but Biggie had no trouble going along with it, and its rhythms are perfect for evening readings. Truth be told, I sometimes rued that my son would sneak off to read chapters on his own, depriving me a little of the delight of reliving the story once again.
Next on the slate is The Phantom Tollbooth, which came to mind because I’ve recently been considering dragging Biggie into a youth bookclub at a local library. There’s one in Sherwood that read Tollbooth last month. A little easier than Watership Down but breaking some new territory in the kind of books Biggie reads. And it’s another book with a map in it.