Thursday, July 9, 2009


I'd like to recommend a really good book: Grayson by Lynne Cox. This wonderful little book is a novel that I could not put down. Depending on how much free time you have, or if you have kids, how young they are and how much attention they need, you could read it in 1-2 days. You will want to read it that fast because you will be so eager to know how it all turns out.

I first read about Grayson in the Bas Bleu catalog (which is always an interesting read in itself). I remember thinking it looked interesting and filed it away in my brain under Books To Read Someday. Then, it was recommended to me by a senior in the water aerobics class at the pool where Valerie takes swim lessons. So, I checked it out at our local library.

Lynne Cox is a long distance swimmer. Grayson is the true story of an experience she had while training for competition. She meets up with a gray whale calf who has become separated from his mother during their migration up the California coast. The writing is superbly descriptive and I felt as though I was breathing and taking strokes with the author as she swam. I was immediately enthralled with the suspense of the story. And even though I am a crier anyway (but that is another story), I was so emotionally involved with the outcome of the story that I couldn't even avoid crying the second time I read it--to Valerie.

Yes, that is another reason I am so excited about this book. It is engaging enough to read to a 5-year-old, and such a treat to enjoy such beautiful writing together. Plus, Valerie really likes whales. I had to do a bit of editing out of a few references to death and dying, but other than that, Grayson is, in my opinion, totally appropriate material for a prekindergartner and up. Still, I suggest you read it first so you can be ready with possible responses to any questions or worries that might come up for your child. Without giving it away, I will say that the ending is not sad or scary.

So many chapter books, or novels, that are written "for children" are too simplistic for their wonderful imaginations. Or are in fact violent or scary. For example, I thought Stuart Little by E.B. White might be fun for Valerie, until while previewing it, I got to the part where Stuart goes after the cat with a sword. Stuart will have to wait a few years.

I'd love to hear any suggestion you might have for good novels to read to Valerie, children's literature or otherwise. In the meantime go borrow or buy Grayson. It's a great summertime read. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. We read lots of Shel Silverstien, which I;m sure you already have - we don't read some of the "interesting" poems - but the preschoolers really enjoy him. As far as older books go the Pre-Kers are loving Pippi Longstocking right now.