They’re Like Training Wheels … Only Better

The other way we keep her quiet

My kid is what you call a reader. And I know how that sounds. It sounds like this is going to be a blog post by a mom who is going to go on and on about how awesomesauce her kid is, and you’re going to want to retch when you’re done.

But I promise this is more of a “oh thank GOD, her kid is kind of a pain in the ass sometimes too” kind of blog post. And it comes with tips to keep your hair in your head instead of being pulled out in clumps … by you!

So. Mentioning the fact that her bed has more books in it than stuffed animals is more of the writer’s tool known as “setting the scene.” And now we can move on to actually helping you turn your kid into one of those reader kids too.

MY reader kid has been driving me batty. She’s in first grade, and she’s actually good at this whole putting letters together to make words thing. And yet, hand her a chapter book, and for months, she’s been looking at me like I’ve got just told her I am craving a steak (did I mention I’m a vegetarian? I guess I should have).

The same person who will stay up until 10 p.m. reading one “regular” book after another was insisting that she “could not” read chapter books. Explaining that several “regular” books read in a row is really the equivalent of said chapter book wasn’t cutting it. She’s the suspicious type.

Enter the graphic novel, otherwise known as chapter books … with pictures! It was like the best of both worlds, and the kick in the pants she needed. Think of it as training wheels for chapter books. Only they’re better than training wheels because they introduce your kids to the wonders of something that will occupy them for hours and help them get into college!

She now leaps through 89-pages in a night, and she graduated to the “real” thing from there. Now the books thumping on the bedroom floor as they fall out of her bed are more substantial by far.

Ay! Where have these been all my life?

I devoured The Adventures of TinTin, but otherwise there wasn’t much in this genre for kids when I was a kid. But according to all the bookish places I’ve looked, that’s changed big time in recent years.

And without further ado, the magical picks of the moment courtesy of one book-lovin’ 6-year-old:

babymouse book

Babymouse series by Matthew Holm and Jennifer Holm: The cotton candy pink covers may have had something to do with her initial attraction, but the adorable little mouse (yeah, yeah, surprise, surprise) is equal parts quirk and ingenuity. Her current fave is Babymouse: Cupcake Tycoon but that will probably change this Easter when we throw a few more titles in the basket.

Squish series by Matthew Holm and Jennifer Holm: Thanks to the common authors, we tried the first in the series (Squish: Super Amoeba), and it’s got the right amount of gross factor with a little science thrown in for the 6-year-old sense of humor.

The Flying Beaver Brothers series by Maxwell Eaton: To know a set of siblings is to know there’s always one who’s on the smarter side and one, well, you know. Meet Ace and Bub. They’re beavers! And they’re brothers! And yeah, you get it. Always fighting for good, always working together, they’re rodents the way I like them … in my kid’s books, not running around my house.

OK, so how did you convince your kid to read real chapter books? Any good graphic novels I’m missing out on?

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  1. I just found this blog post from I-don't-know-where, and I wanted to say thank you! I've been trying to find something for my first grade daughter to read that will hold her interest and help her make the leap to reading that will challenge her more.


  1. […] you tried Spot It? we’re now obsessed). We all read. A lot. She made her way through a few of her favorite Babymouse books for the gazillionth time. But she’s a fast reader, and the power was out for […]

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