Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Rating: 4.5 stars

I am not a perfect mom.  Of that I am sure.  Lorelei's hair is usually unkempt, I still haven't gotten to the bottom of Ben's itchy bottom, and Kiefer once handed me a steak knife I left hanging out on the counter.  But I do pat myself on the back when it comes to getting my kids into books:  They love books.  I can't yet say "They love to read" because Ben and Kiefer are still working on reading.  But it will happen soon, as things do when your kids are so little.  Soon is, like, this afternoon...for most things, at least.

Reading in the car...
One specific reading-related thing I'm proud of: getting our kids in the (good, lifelong) habit of reading in the car.  We don't need no stinkin' DVD player!  (I am very fortunate that no one has carsickness in our family.)  From a very early age, Lorelei had a basket of books at her disposal in the car.  She has the same routine today as she did two years ago: Climb in the car, grab a book, start reading.  Thanks the continued supply of books and her fantastic example, Ben and even Kiefer do it now, too.  A few weeks ago I taught Lorelei and Ben the ol' Peace Corps rule: Always Bring a Book (ABAB)!  Now they often chant to each other "ABAB!" as they to the shelves before a longer car trip.

Makes me smile...and wish I was in the back seat reading with them rather than driving!

A few weeks ago my husband planned a fun family outing to Luray Caverns in Virginia, a two hour drive from our house.  After some rounds of "ABAB!" the kids climbed in and this is what Jonathan and I saw from the front seats.  Granted, Ben and Kiefer read for 30-40 minutes versus Lorelei's 90 minutes of the drive, but...every minute of peace and quiet in the backseat is one more peace- and quiet-filled minutes in your day!

Lorelei and Ben often grab Shel Silverstein poem anthologies before getting in the car.  We have all three: A Light in the Attic, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and Every Thing On It.  The poems are mostly short- or medium-length, and each has a funny and/or bizarre picture alongside that amuses Ben too.  Once they sat on the sofa, each with a volume.  They flipped the pages and, every 4.2 seconds called out, "Look at this one!" and giggled wildly at the other's illustration.  I was thrilled to have them playing so happily together (read: without me), but they were so cute and funny that I kept walking from the kitchen to the family room to look at them.

The pictures make the anthologies good choices for pre-readers and early readers, and the poems are good for stronger readers.  Lorelei still doesn't get all the jokes; she loves, loves, loves when I sit with her and read a few poems and explain the jokes to her.  (Who doesn't like being in on the joke??!)

I'll end with a poem (that is actually from Where the Sidewalk Ends) that my sister often read to me when we were kids:
For Sale 
One sister for sale!
One sister for sale!
One crying and spying young sister for sale.
I'm really not kidding.
Who'll start the bidding?
Do I hear a dollar?
A nickel?
A penny?
Oh, isn't there, isn't there, isn't there any
One kid who will buy this old sister for sale,
This crying and spying young sister for sale?

(I think I had nightmares about this illustration.)
P.S.  Yes, I know that Shel Silverstein looks a little creepy on the back cover photographs.  But we don't hate on bald people around here!

1 comment:

  1. Well, I think this book deserves five stars but you must have given it four and a half because YOU are a little sister. ha!

    I used to read this to my little sister. Now that she is grown up and a reading specialist, she holds up a picture of Shel Siverstein to her students and says in a crazy voice, "I'm going to come get you if you don't do your reading homework!" or something like that. Sacreligious in my view, but I guess it works for her.