This winter we decided not only go beyond chocolate, and have math problems, and holiday clues & activities as part of our advent calendar, we also decided to do a holiday book advent calendar as well. I found the idea over on Pinterest and asked people for advice. In a discussion with one of the moms I learned that she did the holiday book advent with library books. I thought that was ingenious! I was lucky enough to have reserved two books: Christmas Stories and Christmas in the Big Woods.
My First Little House Books
Earlier this summer I had attempted to start the first Little House on the Prairie book with the girls, but I quickly learned they were not quite ready. Since then we have been indulging in the My First Little House Books.
Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers. Now for the first time, the youngest readers can share her adventure in these very special picture books adapted from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved story-books. Renee Graef’s warm paintings, inspired by Garth Williams’ classic Little House illustrations, bring Laura and her family lovingly to life.
The books are stellar. The illustrations are beautiful, and I love that Renee Graef is from Wisconsin. Despite the books looking challenging, they are actually written quite well for new readers. Most of the words can be phonically sounded out, which is wonderful. Our girls adore all the books in this series. When I saw there was a Christmas story I immediately reserved it from the library for our holiday book advent calendar.
A Little House Chapter Books
I was lucky to also have stumbled upon the A Little House Chapter Books series when I reserved Christmas Stories. I could literally ramble on and on about how much I loved this book. I have been feeling flustered as of late. How can I get my daughter to want to read on her own if I cannot find an enticing series? I have been absolutely floored by the rubbish, I mean early reader chapter books, available to new readers.
I was so thankful to come across a great series for girls, I just had to share. I was looking for something that was easy to read, not to scary, and this was a clincher had chapters that were almost like a story within themselves. Now don’t get me wrong, we have a nice list of great children’s chapter books. In fact, the girls and I are currently reading Stewart Little. I wanted an early-reader series that Quinn could read on her own with just occasional assistance from me. THIS is the perfect series!
Now, those of you who read Let’s Lasso the Moon on a regular basis know that I am a library nut. Our family *loves* the library and we rarely buy books. In fact, I honestly cannot remember the last book we actually purchased vs. reserved. This book had such an impact on me that I went online and bid on a few collections on eBay. Honestly, that action in itself is the highest recommendation I can give the series.
The Perfect Pair
The best part about these two particular books is they mirror one another. The first three chapters of Christmas Stories is the same tale as Christmas in the Big Woods. This makes it the perfect introduction to a chapter book. We read the picture book first, which the girls love. As we read the chapter book we’d go back to the picture book as we read and review how the two tales compared. The girls quickly got excited about the tiny details that were offered only within the chapter book. Finally, I was able to see that light in their eyes, that passion for reading that I have been so desperately waiting for!
I also love the great topics the books bring up for discussion. The historical aspect is, of course, nice and fascinating for the kids. As a parent I also appreciated some of the values the Ingalls’ girls portray.
Laura Ingalls Wilder while reflecting on her rugged frontier youth said, “It has been many years since I cleaned a kerosene lamp. Many things have changed since then, but the truths we learned from our parents and the principles they taught us are always true. They can never change.”
I couldn’t agree more. There was one particular story in which the girls were asked to wish for nothing for Christmas for themselves, so that Pa could get new horses. We talked in depth about their response to Ma’s request. In another chapter the story line revolved around handmade gifts. Someday after we read the full collection we will go to Pepin on a mini-vacation and adventure. I told you I could ramble on and on about the book!
We snuggled in bed Saturday morning and read the entire Christmas Stories book together. After each chapter I would ask, “Should we find a bookmark?” which brought about pleas for more, more, more. Their cries were like music to my ears.