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What I’m Reading:
Prek & Kindergarten Chapter Books

2016 August 22
by Becky

Typically these posts are full of beautiful children’s books with vibrant colors and adorable animals, but these days we are full steam ahead with the chapter books. It’s actually been a really long time since I read a picture book with Ethan. We trade-off bedtime duties every night (that is, when Stu isn’t traveling) so when it’s Stu’s turn, Ethan chooses his massive dinosaur book or his history of aircraft book…they sit and read every detail. When it’s my turn, we dive into whatever chapter book we’re reading. It’s our thing.

The first chapter book we read together, 1.5 years ago, was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was amazing, Ethan was totally consumed by it. When we finished, we made chocolate ice cream and watched the movie. Since then our list has grown. We’ve borrowed from the library and from friends, finding some great reads along the way.

Here’s a few of our favorite pre-k and kindergarten age chapter books!

Pre-k & Kindergarten Chapter Books - Magic Treehouse Books Pre-k & Kindergarten Chapter Books - Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing Pre-k & Kindergarten Chapter Books - 13 Story Treehouse Pre-k & Kindergarten Chapter Books - My Fathers Dragon Pre-k & Kindergarten Chapter Books - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
The Magic Treehouse Series Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing 13 Story Treehouse My Father’s Dragon Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  1. The Magic Treehouse Series. Especially the first one because, funny thing, it’s about dinosaurs. The gist of these books is that a couple kids find a treehouse full of books in the woods. They are transported to places and times in the books, so when the boy and girl appeared in a field with dinosaurs, Ethan’s mind was blown. We must have read this book five times, he LOVED it. We borrowed several more from a friend, there are about 100, and the subjects included medieval knights, pirates, and mummies. I can’t wait for Ethan to read these on his own soon, they are a great length and difficulty for new readers.
  2. Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing is an oldie (written in 1972) but apparently still very applicable, Ethan loved it! Judy Blume just knows how to write for kids, this book is STILL a best seller. If you don’t remember, this is the story of a boy, Peter, with an annoying, little brother named Fudge. While Peter and Fudge are separated by a few more years, I know Ethan could TOTALLY relate to the trials and tribulations of the brothers. Judy tells the truth, sometimes little siblings are the worst. I wish there’d been a better lesson at the end, but it was overall a great experience reading this with Ethan. There are more in the series, written more recently. Double Fudge was a hoot.
  3. The 13 Story Treehouse. The children’s librarian recommend this book and it was an instant hit. It’s more of a graphic novel/comic book type format, with lots of drawings. We’ve read two in this series (I think there’s only three) and they are a nice break from books with zero pictures. It’s a tough change going from full color to nothing but words and these help keep things extra interesting. And they are really silly and very funny. Goofy doodle drawings and enough potty humor to make Ethan giggle, but not so much we have issues with it later.
  4.  My Father’s Dragon. Yet another small series, we’ve only read the first book and loved it. Very whimsical and well written, it’s about a boy who runs away to a secret island, with a bizarre bag of supplies, to rescue a baby dragon. All the interesting stuff, right? Magic, dragons, adventure. There’s a few pictures so help little imaginations bring it all together. We can’t wait to read the next two books!
  5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. So we’re right in the thick of Diagon Alley at this point, and Ethan is hooked. I can’t believe how much I’m enjoying this re-read! Ethan can’t wait to find out more about He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named and is following the story well, though I forgot exactly how incredibly detailed J.K. Rowling’s writing is…she’s so amazing. These books are AMAZING!!! Our reading time has been doubled these days, we get sucked into the wizarding world and don’t want to leave. I think we’ll finish this first one, watch the movie, and wait to move on in the series, they just get harder (and longer) from here. Though it will be hard to wait…I’d love to just keep going and read them all again right now.

If you are just starting chapter books, having a movie to watch at the end is a great motivator. And it’s fun! Also, the books we loved as kids don’t always translate…like Ramona. I fondly remember these stories but just didn’t feel like they were working for Ethan.

Need more books? Here’s a few others:

8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel / 1 dog = Chaos

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Trumpet of the Swan

Charlotte’s Web

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
note on this one, while we first watched the original movie with Ethan, the Johnny Depp version is much closer to the book’s storyline so we ended up watching that one too.

Double Fudge

What are your favorite chapter books for pre-k and kindergarten aged kids? 

 

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Chick Magnet

2016 August 15
by Becky

EthanBirdHead

For the month of August we’ll be hearing new noises around our house.

Little chirps and cheeps of our four tiny visitors, temporarily named Peeper, Beeper, Rex, and Bowie. The first two are Cinnimon Queens, Bowie is a Honey Orpington, and Rex…I can’t remember. Maybe an Easter Egger? A Barred Rock? Whatever the case, she’ll have white stripes soon.

ChickNames

We’re hosting these little ladies, feeding and petting and watching them grow, through The Easy Chicken, a business run by a local St. Louis family, that specializes in making city-folks’ dreams of backyard chickens a reality…in the easiest way possible. After watching my kids freak out over the chicks hatched by our school’s first grade class, I jumped at this opportunity.

Ethan-ChickWhisperer

We’ve seen Seth and Maria at the Tower Grove Farmers Market every weekend for years, always talking to them about how much we’d love to have chickens, but never taking the leap. Walking out each morning to find fresh eggs, letting the kids experience a bit of “farm life”…sounds pretty magical. But also a ton of responsibility…more things to feed and keep alive. So when they mentioned the “Watch Them Grow” program, we were sold. They provide all the gear and four adorable chicks, we provide the care and plenty of snuggles.

Ethan is obsessed.

ChickGazing

The “roost” is a retrofitted rubbermaid tub, Ethan was over the moon about the nifty recycled eating and drinking vessels. There’s also a heat lamp stand to keep the little peeps nice and warm. We’ve started raising it as they get older, it’s happening fast! Feathers are sprouting and wings are flapping and they are beginning to resemble actual chickens.

ChickHouse

Finn, aka Squeezy, is, under no circumstances, allowed to be alone with the chickens. I think he was jealous of the attention we gave the chicks on their arrival, my hypothesis based on his attempts to swat the birds out of our hands when anywhere near. After a day of keeping them on the back porch and fighting off his grabby hands, we hid them in the basement where Ethan can visit them in peace. Since then, I’ve slowly worked with Finn on gentle chick handling and he’s really getting the hang of it.

FinnChickMan2

FinnChickSmile

FinnRexChick

“Mama, here baby chi-hen!” He’s suddenly a fan and I couldn’t make this post until I had at least one adorable pic. So why not include three?

At a little over a week old, we had to have some friends over to experience the cuteness and the chicks were really good sports. They are visibly bigger every day and the tiny fuzziness stage is super short, so we couldn’t wait to long share this experience.

AceBirdHead

AudieAceBirds

Big kids are really good with them, pretty gentle and so excited. It’s a really special thing, exposing kids to baby animals. I remember the kittens and horse born on the farm when I was in high school, it was the best. I never left those babies alone for a second. There’s such a short window of time when animals are truly babies, all soft and helpless and mostly unafraid of little hands holding them.

Maelle&EthanChicks

EthanChickShoulder

Am I attached? Kind of. Giving up Rex and Bowie is gonna be tough, they are so sweet and I’m having mama feelings about them. Ethan is REALLY attached to Rex and she seems to adore him…I mean, as much as a two week old chick can. My desire to keep these two is strong, but check back with me after another two weeks of cleaning up their poop.

I could be singing a different tune.

It’s bee an wonderful experience so far and I can’t wait to see what we have on our hands in another two weeks!

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