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Once upon a time, there was a little girl who liked to spend her summers sitting on her window seat and reading a book rather than going outside and playing. Her sister would say, “But you’ve already read that book a hundred times! Can’t you come out and ride bikes with me?”

It didn’t matter that she had read Little House in the Big Woods (and then the other eight books in the series, too) every summer for the last three summers. She needed to go back and check in again with Laura and Mary, Ma and Pa, and their little brindle bulldog, Jack. She knew their story. She knew that a bear would come and Ma would slap it on the butt. She knew that Laura would finally get a rag doll for Christmas. She knew everything that would happen to them over the course of nine books. (Stock up on food now! A VERY long winter is coming!)

She knew other things about other book characters, too. She knew that Wilbur wouldn’t die, that Charlotte’s web messages would save him. She knew that Claudia would find the secret of the statue in Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler’s mixed-up files. She knows now, as a grown-up, that Harry will succeed and that Snape will always be her favorite (sigh).

The first time she read these books, the endings were a mystery. And as fun as it was to read them all the first time and discover right along with the characters all of the “oh, no!” moments that come their way, it was so much better reading them the second, third, or even fourth time, and knowing the story so well you could finish their lines before the characters do. Gleaning something from the story that maybe you didn’t catch the last time. Understanding something that seemed insignificant the first time you read it, but actually is a huge clue to the end. These are the reasons this girl revisited the same stories again and again.

Anyone who has a toddler knows that you had better choose your books wisely, because you will be reading the same board books over and over again. Toddlers love re-reading books as much as this little girl did.

Classic stories like Little Red Hen and Goldilocks & the Three Bears are stories that many of us know by heart and could recite without a book. Putting a new twist on these old favorites can make reading these classic stories a lot more fun. Maybe Little Red Hen isn’t baking bread, but making cupcakes for a very special occasion. Maybe Goldilocks runs into three bears while they are camping in the woods. These stories will give you those “oh, no” moments reading them the first time, but new little details in the illustrations will amuse your child with each reading. They will become family favorites that you turn to over and over and over and over again.

Today’s blog post is written by our Acquisitions & Contracts Manager, Kerry Finnamore—who still has her nose in a book every free minute of every day.

 

Life magazine ad c. 1944 illustrated by Jon Whitcomb.
Little Red Hen illustrated by Genie Espinosa.

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