A brief interlude from the tiny trailer series – because we made it home! In one piece, apart from our cracked windscreen, in the scheme of things a very minor issue after 5500km and two weeks on the road with four small children.
Tiny Trailer in the desert
In any case. A quick diversion, to some recently-discovered children’s books.
I really avoided buying gifts for the children during our long drives (apart from a renegade fingerling during a particularly tough stretch through Idaho – don’t judge me for this hideous toy that was predictably well-received)
This is not my hand. And I KNOW. Who comes up with these toys?
I avoided buying gifts, but books don’t count as gifts, do they? I have been using the library religiously and not buying books, in my efforts to keep things around here minimal.
But everyone loves a new holiday book, children included, and here are a few that have been really loved by our four.
The Usborne Official Spy’s Handbook
Loved equally by Jacob (8) and Elsa (6) and perfect for a journey.
Wee Society, Me: a Compendium
I was initially looking at the Wee Society travel journal but I was pretty confident Elsa would enjoy this option, and I was rightt:
With some really thoughtful, fun and creative fill-in content:
Gillian Cross, The Iliad
Jacob (8) has been super into Greek mythology for the past year or so, started by a school introduction to Rick Riordan and the Olympians – not an author I would particularly rush to read aloud – but, I will concede, he has done a good job of keeping Jacob transfixed.
Anyway building on that interest, a fantastic retelling of the Iliad by Gillian Cross:
Also, loved by Jacob recently,
Philip Roy, Submarine Outlaw
And, recommended by my friend Kate; a book for Jacob that he is yet to try but I have a sneaking suspicion he will be delighted by:
Ian Livingstone, Fighting Fantasy Series
Suitably horrible cover. Here in UK, Here in Canada.
And for Elsa (6), in my never-ending quest to avoid the rainbow fairy series and, as it happens, much of the embarrassingly bad books out there marketed as ‘girl’ early independent reading books, some recent gems:
Judy Blume, Freckle Juice
Look obviously anything by Judy Blume is going to be fantastic but I didn’t realize that she has written books suitable for a six year old – I thought she was more about Forever and Ralph (if you know, you know). Anyway – not the case! I don’t need to censor any of this; just an excellent, funny short read that Elsa totally devoured. She also read the The One in the Middle is a Green Kangaroo and loved it.
Shannon & Dean Hale, A Princess in Black series
Any of the Princess in Black series is a fun light read:
And we also recently came across the Tony Ross / Enid Blyton Secret Seven collection. We have the original collection – albeit always a little bit less adored than the Famous Five – and although the original stories are simple, they are also quite dry (and long).
These are a fantastic, lighter version:
Enid Blyton and Tony Ross, Secret Seven Series
Here in UK
Rebecca Cobb, The Something
For Mim (4) and Wilf (2), a new book that I absolutely adore by Rebecca Cobb. She also wrote Paper Dolls, a similarly fantastic book that I can’t read aloud without feeling a little tearful (don’t judge me). Anyway this book doesn’t make me cry which is a good start:
Also made for a hilarious exchange in the library when I asked the librarian if they had ‘the Something by Rebecca Cobb’ and we had a back-and-forth where the librarian got increasingly irritated with me for not knowing the book title I was enquiring after, until she realised that ‘the something’ were in fact the words she needed to type into her search bar. Making friends wherever I go.
This book, by the way, is fabulously, casually, inclusive. Behold, the father doing the laundry; a group of friends representative of the real world, et cetera. And also funny and clever. Can you tell I’m a fan?
DK Follow the Trail Series
And finally, all of these books have been a hit with Wilf. Starting with Trucks (obviously), we have worked our way through the Farm, Wild Animals, and Baby Animals; and I can only presume that the others (Dinosaur, Bugs, At the Zoo) will be just as fantastic.
Still can’t believe that our big US trip is over. Full debrief to follow, but we are gearing up for a few nights in the mountains here (Whistler) before the back-to-school prep begins in earnest. What books have I missed? Always love to read your recommendations on excellent children’s reads.
Previous book recommendations:
Books to give to children that they won’t already have on their shelves