Wednesday, September 22, 2010

As God as my witness, I'll never read Mittens again

Which is to say: a list of easy reader books which don't prompt you to knock yourself unconscious:

Elephant and Piggie

These are, by far, my very favorite, and Primo’s too, because they are freaking hilarious. Like, they stand on tiher own as picture books, too. And I read them to Seconda, who gets a total kick out of them, too. Besides being hilarious, the language is really simple which helps to keep morale up, and there is tons of repetition, -- not in a Seuss-y way, because it doesn’t rhyme, but in a Meisner way. I keep feeling like I’m back in acting class:

“I love the rain!”

“You love the rain?”

There are very few words on each page which keeps us truning pages at a nice clip, making Primo feel a sense of accomplishment,and giving him new illustrations to look at.

PLUS, one huge advantage I’ve found with these is that because it is all dialogue between the two characters, it works perfectly to perform as a play. So when Primo is feel particularly resistant to literacy, I can get him interested by telling him we’ll perform it as a play for Daddy and Sec, complete with props. It also makes the task more acheavable because he only has to reads half of the dialogue. Because the characters often yell at each other and have really broad facial expressions, it’s a fun play to put on. And then he’s read a book without even noticing, If only one of plays would include Piggie eating a plate of spinach, we’d be all set.

All Things Seuss

I feel like you love Seuss or he annoys the shit out of you. I love him, and Primo does too. Green Eggs and Ham is a favorite of his to read. One Fish Two Fish is good too and the Cat in the Hat, of course. Only trouble is, there’s a lot of text on each page, and the books are fairly long for beginner readers so he gets a little overwhelmed by how long it takes him to get through a page and loses momentum.

You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You

You can make any book a “you read to me, I’ll read to you book” by alternating lines. This fact is not lost on me. But I found one of these series at the Strand and since it was “spooky tales to read together” (Primo’s still nuts about spooks) and it cost under $4, I bought it. As it truns out, Mary Ann Hoberman, the stellar children’s poet, penned it, and the son of our favorite illustrator and drawing-book-auhor, Michael Emberley, did the pictures, so we were extra psyched. Primo loves the fact that the book was MEANT to be read by two people – so that it was required for us to share the load of the reading. Everything rhymes which really helps the beginner reader to figure words out, and the poems are all spooky and gross and creepy, just the way my brood like it.

Meg and Mog Books

These aren’t easy readers per se but a fantastic series of picture books from England about a crazy witch and her motley crew. The illustrations are so bold bright you feel like you’re having a hallucination, and that’s reason enough for me to crack it open. Simple text, fun stories.

As God as my witness, I’ll never read Mittens again.