Books, Reviews

When Reading to Them Changes to Reading With Them: Magical

Another revival post with a little bit of the old and some of the new. Today’s post is a makeover of my post dated January 24th, 2011: another year, same day and date of the month! That was when I was still reading to my kids; granted my now 19 yo college freshman had discovered the joys of reading and loved to read (still does), but he also cherished the moments I read to them. Most often, he just joined in when I was reading to his younger sister! Now they both read on their own, and I try to read the books they are reading (or vice versa) whenever possible. And while I am not sure at what point exactly, or when reading to them changed to reading with them, it was all magical; the reading to, the journey, and now, the reading with them!

I have talked about the joys of reading together a few times already on my blog. Be it my unapologetic trip down memory lane in She Reads…They Read… or simply talking about The Ultimate Joy of Reading Together, Always, I seem to enjoy writing about how much I love reading to/with my kids! And this is a sort-of, kind-of another such post.

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Reading to Them (circa 2011)

[Note: January 24, 2022: This section contains text as is from my 2011 post, when my almost 16-yo and so smart, and well, almost sweet teen was but six, and a totally silly, sweet six and yes, smart six too!!]

A super busy Fun Friday and a Stupendously busy Super Saturday zoomed by. Before I knew it, it was the end of Sunday and I wondered where the weekend had gone. Here is Monday now and I decided I at least needed to post something today. I have not been blogging but I did read every day to my little ones and here are the latest books we have read and plan to read again (as always):

Fancy Nancy

TitleFancy Nancy
Author: Jane O’Connor
Illustrator: Robin Preiss Glasser
Publishers: HarperCollins Publishers (December 1, 2005)
Genre: Children’s Family Life Books (4 – 8 years)
Source: Home library

Description(excerpted): How Nancy transforms her parents and little sister for one enchanted evening makes for a story that is funny and warm—with or without the frills. This heartwarming story emphasizes the importance of family and the power of self-expression.  

‘No one knows Fancy like Nancy’  

My thoughts

This book with glitter on its cover and fancy vocabulary is now in our favorites list (to read again many times over list). Nancy is a wonderful little girl who feels that fancying up everything (shoes, your pen, sandwiches, your room, the name of your doll and definitely the words you use) makes it better.

Her attempts to teach her non-fancy family to be fancy is stupendously (fancy for greatly) comical. These attempts result in a not-so fancy fall; as Nancy cuddles up in a dressing gown (fancy for bathrobe) at the end of the day, she realizes there is no better or fancy way to say ‘I love you’.


My daughter’s thoughts

I love these books because they are so stylish. Fancy Nancy talks so well too. The drawings are soooo pretty! Her favorite illustration from the book is when the whole family gets fancied up and arrive at the restaurant like rock stars!   The fancy (yup!), bright and detailed illustrations made me go ooo-la-la too! All in all, a must-read for the ‘Fancy Nancy’ in you and your little ‘Fancy Nancy’.    

Miss Rumphius

Title: Miss Rumphius
Author and Illustrator: Barbara Cooney
Publisher: Puffin Books(November 6, 1985)
Category: Children’s Classics (5 – 8 years, and up)
Source: Home library (from the collection – The Book of Children’s Classics)

Barbara Cooney’s story of Alice Rumphius, who longed to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and do something to make the world more beautiful, has a timeless quality that resonates with each new generation.

Our Thoughts

This book is part biography (based on the story of a Maine woman who was nicknamed the Lupine Lady as she scattered lupine seeds around her hometown) and part autobiography (Barbara Cooney, the author and illustrator did travel the world and settle down by the sea). Barbara Cooney uses eloquent language and beautiful paintings to tell a warm and inspiring story for boys and girls of all ages.

As a little girl, Alice listened to her grandfather’s stories of faraway places. And she told him she wanted to travel and then live by the sea when she was older. Her grandfather’s response was something that stayed with her. He told her that she must also do something to make the world more beautiful. Alice grew up to become Miss Rumphius; and set out to do all she wanted to – travel to faraway places, live in a house by the sea, and make the world more beautiful.

The book conveys the message that everyone can do their part to make the world a more beautiful place by doing something as simple as scattering seeds. The spirit of Miss Rumphius shines throughout the book and I felt inspired to do something adventurous, travel, to do my part to beautify the world after I read this book.

I read this story in this wonderful collection titled The Book of Children’s Classics.

Noisy Nora

TitleNoisy Nora
Author: Rosemary Wells
Publishers: Puffin; Reissue edition (January 1, 2000)
Genre: Children’s Family Life Books (3 – 5 years)
Source: Library

Description: It’s tough being the middle mouse. No one’s paying any attention to Nora, so she decides to do something her family can’t ignore: make noise. What happens when she stops?

Our Thoughts

First published in 1973 and completely re-illustrated in 1997, Rosemary Well’s sweet rhymes and bright illustrations that say volumes make the story a great read. Noisy Nora feels left out while her parents attend to her siblings; they continue to ignore her even as she resorts to, well, making lots of noise! Everyone misses her when all is suddenly quiet in the house! ‘Where is Nora?’ is a question on everyone’s mind for a split second.

This book appeals to all who have felt left out in situations. Kind of the times my little one reminds me (within the span of a few minutes) that she has been waiting for me for hours to do something!! It could be one of many things: to ‘read a book’; or ‘watch a movie with her’; ‘show her baby pictures’ or; the list goes on. The book has the word ‘dumb.’ This was something my little ones both ‘oohed’ over when I first used it; they went, “mama is saying the ‘d’ word!” and, while it is bothersome, this book does a wonderful job of pointing out some much needed lessons, to both adults and children. And for that, this is a good read indeed.

Reading With Them (present day, or 2022)

So what is the latest book I have read with either of my teens? I am currently getting started on Pachinko (which my son read late last year), and both my daughter and I are taking turns reading Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking (another book my son devoured during the December break). And oh, both my son and I read Where the Crawdads Sing and When Breath Becomes Air early last year.

I do ask them to read some of the new picture books I read, along with me (or for me) every once in a while. Granted, I don’t do that too often. But when I do get them to read these, they love it all over again. And then there are a few picture books that are for all ages, or for older audiences too!

Anyways, here are a few recent reads that I know they will enjoy reading (though I haven’t asked them to, as of the time of this post).

The Big Book of Tiny Cars

Book Info

Title: The Big Book of Tiny Cars: A Century of Diminutive Automotive Oddities
Author: Russell Hayes
Publishers: Quarto Books: Motorbooks (November 23, 2021)
Genre: Nonfiction/Automotive History
Source: Digital review copy from NetGalley

Richly illustrated and entertainingly written, The Big Book of Tiny Cars presents lively profiles of the automotive world’s most famous—and infamous—microcars and subcompacts from 1901 to today. This book is your ultimate collection of microcars, minicars, bubble cars, kei cars, subcompacts, and compacts that have been built, sold, and driven all over the globe for 120 years.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the digital review copy.

My Thoughts

My son went through a car phase for a while; this was before he went to his gadgetry phase and after his lego phase. (Or was it after his dino and bird phase?) Though other interests have taken over now that he is is college, he still knows and loves cars (but he is not driving one, yet) and he loves reading. So of course, he will adore this book.

As for me, I adore history, and love looking at how things changed over the years. And there is something charming and even cute (sometimes a little oddly so, but) about tiny cars. Original illustrations and drawings, vintage photographs (of not just the cars, but ads and other cool snapshots), trivia and facts (presented very cleverly as tiny trivia and tin y fact boxes respectively), as well as a brief narrative for each featured car make this a very entertaining and educational read. The book may seem tiny, but what it contains is certainly not so. Tons of information in this little edition for all to enjoy.

It is a perfect book to gift anyone who loves history, cars, photography, and reading! And I might just buy the physical copy for my son.

All featured books go towards It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? over at TeachMentorTexts.

Reading, By Them

Image of two people reading (can see two people seated next to each other and each one with a book) .title says When Reading to Them Changes to Reading With Them: Magical

And Now, the End of This Post

Dear reader, have you read any of the featured books? Or any similar books? I would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations.

9 thoughts on “When Reading to Them Changes to Reading With Them: Magical

  1. I've heard about Miss Rumphius, and I've intended to read it, and somehow never have. Now that I've read your review, I'll put it on my "must read" list. Thanks, Vidya!

    Fancy Nancy sounds like fun, too!

    *adds to list…*

  2. What great books and I’m looking forward to reading Fancy Nancy with Lia when she gets older. I’m glad she enjoys books and now when I read to her she picks out some words she knows. Hoping she’lll be reading to me soon!

  3. Like you I enjoyed reading to my son when he was a child and he loved to be read to at bedtime. It’s a great learning tool. I will share your blog with others. Thank you !

  4. What a wonderful post, Vidya! I always love how you use your blog as a way of almost looking back on fond memories—it’s wonderful how you took a look at what you used to read to your kids, while also talking about what you’ve been reading with them in the present day! I never did read Fancy Nancy, but it definitely sounds like it’s held up upon re-reading. Noisy Nora sounds like a delight as well! And I would love The Big Book of Tiny Cars, since I’m a little bit of a car nerd too (I know the car on the front is an Isetta, so…yeah, I know a little too much!). Thanks so much for the wonderful post!

  5. Your trip down memory lane is beautiful to me. My daughter is currently enjoying the “Fancy Nancy” books. She’s five and loves for me to read to her. She’s beginning to read as well, so I look forward to seeing her pick more books on her own.

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