While I was pregnant, Mike read most of our favorite kid’s books to Cavanaugh. Every night before bed, Mike would tell my stomach stories: Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Little Prince, The Complete Winnie the Pooh. When Cavanaugh came, he knew his Daddy’s voice.
Hearing all of those stories was a perfect introduction to his father because reading was such a centerpoint in Mike’s and my relationship. Reading our childhood favorites during my pregnancy was one of the sweetest times in our relationship. And I believe we started raising a reader from the very start.
When many of his baby buddies were still reaching for board books so they could chew on them, Cavanaugh followed stories page after page. But bedtime stories were starting to get a bit monotonous for me. He’d want ten of them or some of them ten times. I tried reading longer books, going back to the babyhood favorites: Goodnight Moon, A Child’s Goodnight Book, Max’s Bedtime. Though Cavanaugh wasn’t ever asleep by the last book, I’d lie and cuddle with him and read my own books as he drifted into dreamland.
I’ve been reading either books on spirituality or juvenile fiction since Mike and I separated. They’re safer: no romance, no affairs, no horrifying suspense. Okay, some suspense but I put those books down. I’m barely sleeping as it is.
The juvenile and young adult fiction book covers have fascinated Cavanaugh. He kept asking what the books were about. I started reading him bits of them, first with a book about trolls I wish I could remember the title of. Then from my favorite new author, Cornelia Funke. I started with The Thief Lord (thank you Courtney!!), then read Dragon Rider.
Cavanaugh thought the dragons looked like trolls and asked me to read to him. It was so much fun reading something I could engage in for hundreds of pages and share with him. The trouble was that after he fell asleep, I kept reading. So, I decided to pick a book that Cavanaugh and I would read from cover to cover. In my pile of Cornelia Funke, I found When Santa Fell to Earth, shorter than her other books, full of illustrations, and an alternative Santa story (I’m still not sure what we’re doing about Santa).
He loved it. Every night, we read two or three chapters. It was 165 pages. He interrupted my reading to ask questions. He turned back pages to find illustrations and name characters. He wanted to know what would happen next. Reading that book together is probably in my top five favorite things of my whole life. We finished a couple of nights ago.
Last night, we started The Tale of Despereaux. Cavanaugh loves it too. Unfortunately for me, it is full of talk about true love and happily ever after. Fortunately, the love is between a mouse and a human princess. Cavanaugh is so engaged, I can’t refuse him.
Today, we did call and response for the drum sounds from the Mouse Council: “Boom, tat tat, boom, tat tat, boom.” Tonight, Cavanaugh chanted Depsarow, Depsarow in his push for me to read two more pages. Depsarow it is. I couldn’t be happier.
I’d love suggestions for what Cavanaugh and I should read next. What are some of your favorite juvenile and young adult fiction?