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Read Aloud Thursday–Best of 2009


My girls and I have read a lot of good books together this year, so when I first began to think about how I wanted to end the year for Read Aloud Thursday, I thought I might actually try to go back and check out from the library as many of the picture books I’ve reviewed this year as I could and let my girls pick their favorites.  Then I decided I’m not nearly as brave (or energetic!) as Carrie and promptly abandoned that idea.  I just don’t think I could even begin to pick a favorite, favorite, favorite picture book for myself (or even a few of them), let alone get my girls to do it by just looking at the covers on the computer screen.  My always-a-work-in-progress Best Picture Books list will have to suffice. 

What I decided to do instead is highlight the best chapter book read-alouds we did this year.  Actually, it seems more and more that chapter books are becoming the norm around the House of Hope for read-alouds; Lulu tends to request them, and Louise just goes along for the ride.  Oh, by no means am I giving up reading picture books!  No way!  I think I just got a little overwhelmed the past couple of months with the holidays and early pregnancy funk.  Besides, with a new little one on his or her way,  there will be plenty of picture books to read and enjoy all over again, as well as new ones to discover! 

Anyway, back to the best chapter books discussion.  Looking over the list of what we’ve read together (click and then scroll down to see it), I think my favorite of all was our saunter through The House at Pooh Corner, but I’m just very sentimental that way.  Read this post for proof of my extreme sentimentality.  

I read the list of books we’ve finished aloud to the girls just before bedtime last night, and Lulu predictably voted The Best Christmas Pageant Ever as her favorite, so little sister (also predictably) followed.  I don’t know if they really loved it that much, if they remember it best since it’s the last one we read, or if they loved it because we saw their cousins perform in a stage production of it while we were in the middle of reading it, but that was their number one pick.  Of course, Lulu had to give a loyalty vote to Little House on the Prairie, which I hope and believe she will always hold near and dear to her heart.  I know we’ve spent many, many, many hours listening to the audiobooks of that series here at the House of Hope this year.

Honestly, it would be very difficult for me to pick which book I think they enjoyed the most.  I could more easily pick the ones I think didn’t go over as well, but what would be the fun in that?  😉  If I were to pick a top three five six, though, not including the above choices, the list would include

  • All things Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.  The girls loved this book and its sequel, found it hilarious, and much to my chagrin, actually “got” the mischief the children got themselves into. 
  • Charlotte’s Web.  How can I not include this one?  I consider this book the pinnacle of read-aloud perfection:  immensely readable text, perfect illustrations by none other than Garth Williams of Little House fame, and a perfect story.  To have it read by the author raises it to an even higher plane.  This book has also provided lots of fodder for my girls’ imaginations.   This year was our second trip through, and I daresay it won’t be our last. 
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  This read-aloud brought me as much joy as any I’ve shared with them yet, and that’s saying a mouthful for sure.  The fact that Lulu saw a large read-aloud copy I just purchased and requested another trip back into the Wardrobe is testimony to me of the power of this story. The girls have even listened to this one in audio a few times.  However, they share a CD player during rest time, their normal audiobook-listening time, and some of the scenes with the White Witch are a little too intense for Louise, so she usually votes against this one, at least the dramatized audio version we have. 
  • The Story of Helen Keller was an unexpected treat for my girls.  This sort of links back (like many, many things here at the House of Hope) to the Ingalls family, since Mary was blind.  They really soaked up Helen Keller’s inspiring story, and yes, we took a field trip to Ivy Green, even if I never managed to share the pictures here like I promised to do. 
  • Betsy-Tacy enchanted us all.  I’ll never forget lying in bed in our hotel room on vacation and finishing this book with the girls.  I look forward to sharing the sequels with them in the future. 
  • .Last but certainly not least, Tumtum and NutmegThese books were a joy to read, and Louise still gets a kick out of Madame Tiptoe and her pogo-ing ballerinas in the second story.  I don’t think I expected a modern book to be this much fun and imaginative for some reason, but rest assured that there is still good children’s literature being written today. 

As for 2010, I’m not sure which direction we’ll travel.  Rest assured, though, I’ll share whatever we discover together here at Read Aloud Thursday!  🙂

What about your family?  Care to tell us your top picks of 2009, or maybe just what you’ve been enjoying lately?  Link up your blog post below, or simply leave a comment.  Oh, and don’t forget about the Read Aloud Thursday buttons!

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Have a magnificent last day of 2009!  What better way to go out than a Read Aloud Thursday! 🙂


3 Responses

  1. Next year I’m planning to read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle with my daughter and maybe a few others on your list.

    We’ve read several books this week about snow and snowmen. I’ve listed two in my Thursday post: http://www.brimfulcuriosities.com/2009/12/hello-snow-snowmans-song-book-reviews.html

    Also, we’ve nearly finished our prince/princess/frog booklist. Still a few books to request through interlibrary loan, but I decided to post about those we have read so far in December and have included short review summaries.

  2. I share your love of the six titles I’m familiar with. I still want to check out Tumtum and Nutmeg as well as Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.

    I hope to be participating again on Jan. 7, Lord willing.

  3. My brother and I loved all four of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books when we were children, and all of my children have loved them, too.

    You would probably also enjoy Onions in the Stew, which is Betty MacDonald’s memoir of living on Vashon Island with her husband and twin daughters, who were obviously the source of much of her inspiration for the children in the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books!

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