Friday, February 7, 2014
When I was a kid, I spent hours in my bedroom lying on my back, feet up on the wall, reading book after book after book. I didn't need prompting to read. Books were my escape, my way to enter a new world and get away from the one I was in. One world I particularly liked to dive into, in my early elementary days, was Ramona Quimby's. I am a girl, so I read Beverly Cleary's "girl" books. It was not until recently, with my little boy that I finally got to experience Cleary's "boy" books.
I got Cedar Henry Huggins as his Book on Every Bed Christmas book. We did this tradition last year, and he was excited to receive a book first thing Christmas morning. But, when he got his book this year, he was less than thrilled.
So Henry Huggins sat on the shelf for a month. I encouraged my boy to get started reading it, but he resisted. Finally, after one too many promptings, Cedar told me that Henry Huggins just didn't look like an interesting book, he didn't think he could read it on his own, and he felt bad that he didn't like the book I got for him. Aww, poor kid!
We began to read about Henry together. And though he was skeptical at first, as Henry stumbled upon Ribsy, struggled to get the scruffy dog onto a bus in a box, and slowly spent his bus fare trying to work it all out, Cedar opened up to Henry. The chapters unfolded and we laughed at the time Henry got some fish. Cedar got fish for Christmas, so this made his eyes light up. As Henry lost his friend's football and had to catch worms for his neighbor to earn money to buy a new one, Cedar offered me tips on worm-catching. And on and on it went. Every chapter had something relatable for my little boy.
Finally, we arrived at the last chapter, but Cedar couldn't wait to find out what happened to Henry next. So the next night before bed, he finished off the book.
It seemed that by entering Henry's world together, my boy was drawn in easily. This is his usual style- he totally judged the book by its cover. But maybe we dispelled that idea by reading Henry. Or maybe Beverly Cleary did but writing it. Either way, it just goes to show what a wonderful book, and a little reading together can do to open up new worlds to a child.