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A GOOD READ: Cuddle up and enjoy a variety of family reads
This winter, take some time to read aloud with your family. Get bundled up and enjoy books together with your youngsters. Here are a few suggestions for families to enjoy:
• Big Snow by Jonathan Bean: Big Snow is a picture book about a boy who likes snow. The books starts with the boy dragging his sled on the bare lawn. When it starts snowing, he wonders if it will stick. When it starts to stick, he wonders if it will pile up. Big Snow clearly captures the anticipation of waiting for snow to fall and the excitement when it does. The illustrations beautifully contrast the warmth of inside during a winter’s day and the heavy grey sky when snow is threatening to fall. A great read for toddlers and preschoolers, getting excited for snow.
• Young Fredle by Cynthia Voigt: For as long as the little mouse Fredle can remember, he has lived in a nest in the wall. At night, he and his family venture out into the kitchen to find food. He likes foraging with his cousin Axel the best — she is not afraid of anything and is always looking for adventure. One night, Fredle and Axel find the most delicious treat. They eat until they are sick. Fredle is so sick that he can’t get out of his nest the next day. When mice are sick, they are kicked out of the nest, where they can’t spread their illness to the rest of the colony. Left in the kitchen during the day, Fredle is soon discovered by the woman who lives in the house. Instead of killing him, the woman puts Fredle outside. The outside world is larger and more beautiful than anything Fredle has imagined — more dangerous, too. What will Fredle do out here? Where can he find food? This wonderful adventure story is a great choice for kids aged five to eight years who want to know more about the animals among us.
• That Boy Red by Rachna Gilmore: Eleven-year-old Red MacRae lives on Prince Edward Island with his family. The Depression has hit the island hard but the MacRaes always have enough to eat. Red doesn’t mean to cause trouble but sometimes he can’t help it. Like when he got in a fight at school because his friend called his sister (also the teacher) a bad name. Another time, when Red was heading out fishing, his younger sister Bunch followed him into the woods. When Red discovered her, he told her to go home — never mind that she couldn’t find her way back. But when Red’s father is hurt cutting wood, Red has to try his best to help his family. That Boy Red is a great story for anyone longing for a simpler time and place. Each chapter can stand alone — perfect for picking up and reading whenever there is time.
• Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu: Hazel doesn’t fit in. Her imagination and sense of wonder used to be praised by her teachers at the private school she attends. But when her mom and dad get divorced, they can no longer afford to send her there. Now she has to go to the public school, where she has trouble sitting still and paying attention. Luckily, her best friend Jack goes to the same school. They play made-up games like superhero baseball at recess. Then Jack stops being nice to Hazel. Hazel’s mother says that sometimes in the fifth grade, boys don’t want to be friends with girls anymore. Hazel suspects there is something more to Jack’s behaviour. When Hazel hears a strange story about Jack going into the woods with a witch, Hazel knows she’s the only one who can save him. Hazel’s quest takes her into a mysterious other world. A beautiful blend of realism and fantasy, Breadcrumbs is a great read for anyone who thinks there is more to our world than we can see. Breadcrumbs is also available as an audiobook for anyone taking a road trip this winter.
Warm up this winter by reading books as a family. Stop by the library for more suggestions of great books to read aloud.
A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians that is published every Wednesday. Dana Ionson works at Terry Fox Library in Port Coquitlam.