Hand: ’Tis the season to read with children
I really try not to repeat myself, but Christmas is coming and I want to remind you about “The Read Aloud Handbook” by Jim Trelease, and some holiday classics.
The most important skill that we can give a child today is the ability to read. Jim Trelease was a businessman who wanted to read aloud to his children and could not find a guide years ago.
He wrote one. The seventh edition is out now, but any edition will do a great job. He gives the rationale for reading aloud and then, in the second half of the book, gives reviews of books for kids at both listening age and reading age.
He also gives his three Bs of reading. First of course is books, lots of books. Second, a good bedside light for reading in bed, and third, a book shelf in the bathroom.
I would add my own B — buy magazine subscriptions for your kids. They love getting things in the mail, which makes it a perfect match.
For each young parent on your Christmas list, this latest (or any) edition of Trelease’s book should be under the tree.
I have three Christmas classics to help you enjoy the season.
The first is the spectacular “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg. I can’t tell you how many times I have read to groups, with a bell in hand, and it is always a success.
Our boy awakens and finds Santa and a magic train, which takes him to the North Pole. He is chosen to ride with Santa and asks for a bell from the sleigh as his gift.
He loses it, but the magic of belief brings it back. We watch as our boy hears the bell and no one else does.
We hope that he continues to “hear” forever.
I have always loved “Welcome Comfort” by one of my favorite authors, Patricia Polacco.
Welcome Comfort is a young foster child who is being teased for being fat. He doesn’t fit in well and is taken in hand by the school custodian and his wife, the Hamps.
Welcome is disappointed when Christmas comes each year and the Hamps leave.
Welcome grows up and becomes a custodian alongside his mentor.
We are delighted by his marriage and then the announcement that the Hamps are retiring — not only from the school, but as Santa, and Welcome and his wife will take their place. This is an absolutely delicious treat.
For adults, don’t miss “How Murray Saved Christmas” by Mike Reiss and David Catrow.
This is not obscene or steamy. It just makes Santa too funny for little ones to “get,” and yet the word plays and situations will hit adults’ funny bones over and over.
I don’t have enough space to give you the hilarious details, but Jewish Murray must take over for Santa and he is not prepared.
His recitation of his reindeer’s names is not to be missed, and when he has toys left over, he takes them to the “bad” girls and boys. We leave again messing up the reindeer as he heads out of sight.