I love reading to my children, especially when we read really good books. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that Captain Underpants is great reading to a 5 year old, and Angelina Ballerina is magical to 3 year old girls . . . but that’s not the kind of reading I’m talking about. I’m talking about children’s books with lyrical prose and poignant characters, books with words that flow like music and stories that take you places you never expected to go, books that are as much a joy for the reader as for the listener. We have discovered a handful of these gems lately, and I’ve decided that as I find them, I need to share them here. My new favorite author is Kate DiCamillo. We just finished reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and all I can say is Wow.
This story of a china rabbit touches on everything that is real in life – love, loss, pain, patience, moving on. It’s heavy stuff for a children’s book. Fletcher may not have “gotten” all of it but I know he enjoyed the story and I can not tell you how much I enjoyed reading it to him. This is the 3rd book we have read by Kate DiCamillo, and I am a total devotee. She is amazing. Most everyone has heard of Desperaux by now, thanks to the animated movie based on the book. We have not seen the movie, but I can tell you the book is amazing. Dark and passionate in a way you don’t expect from a child’s book, but then again, what is more dark and passionate than a child?
DiCamillo also writes picture books, though the fact that they are not novels should not make you think they are any less sophisticated. Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken is about wanderlust and adventure and the comforts of home. Beautiful.