Sometime just before Christmas Sam discovered the non-fiction section of his school library. Up until then he brought home sweet story books every week. All of a sudden it was INVENTIONS! MEDIEVAL VILLAGES! DINOSAURS! I asked his librarian about the change and she confirmed what I had guessed-- all the kids make the switch "even the girls!" as soon as soon as they find the section. She said that some schools she has worked in won't let the younger children out of the picture book stacks and that when they do, many parents ask her to guide their kids back to the fiction. She explained, "I try to offer them beautiful story books, but they always head back to non-fiction. When I walk into a library or bookstore and am surrounded by books, that is ME time and I don't want anyone telling me what I need to be looking for. It's a personal thing. I want to give that to children. They'll find their way back to the stories." We are lucky to have her.
This has complicated bed time reading ever so slightly. Paul reads two books to all three boys-- or rather, he reads one and Sam reads aloud the other (usually anyway. I'm not always privy to dad time). It's not terribly sweet going through "Pirates Through the Ages" with the babies so I've been trying to find some *in between* books that they will all like.
I bought This is the Way to the Moon at Land for Sam's birthday. I looove these books written by Miroslav Sasek and reprinted by Universe Publishing. I got ours at Land/Buy Olympia and I'm putting the whole series (I think there are 18) on my list. The illustrations are hard to get over-- Ward wrote about finding an original copy a few years ago-- his scans are really good. It's the story of Cape Canaveral and it's first missions to the moon, including missile facts and figures, mission control, and the chocolate cake baked to commemorate it all.
In the Town All Year 'Round was supposed to be a gift for a faraway friend, but I can't keep their hands off of it. I don't blame them. It's written and illustrated by Rotraut Susanne Berner (originally published in Germany) and contains big, beautiful illustrations of the doings of everyone in a small town. It's lovely and big and feels really nice to hold. Sam sits on the couch with his little brothers and they go through it together. You cannot buy that sort of good cheer, people.
My friend and yours, Andrea, has a new book blog. She knows a lot about books-- specifically children and young adult lit, and she's my all-round go to person for such matters. Now she can now be yours, too. Handy.