Being a first-time mom is tough. I’m not a new mom, but I’m forever feeling like a rookie at the job. Miss M, my oldest, just entered Kindergarten but I still feel new to so many things. I guess with the first child, there will always be a learning curve.
As an example, a month or so ago a friend of ours told us he was reading chapter books to his 5 1/2 year old son. He’s the same age as Miss M, but we’ve never ventured into unfamiliar chapter books. He lent us a few from the series they had been reading and I was amazed, surprised… delighted. We could now move into stories with pictures – and beyond pictures with sentences. This was giving me the opportunity to enjoy a story along with the kids.
Parent Reviewers was looking for people to read and review Sunny’s Adventures by Leketha Marie Johnson. I read over the description provided and thought “Hey, this sounds cute! I think Miss M would really relate to it.” When I checked it out on Amazon, it recommended the reading age as 9-12 (the author’s email indicated ages 6-9) but I really thought it sounded good. I figured – How would I know unless I gave it a try. It took someone telling me about chapter books before we gave those a whirl. I didn’t want to forever be relying on others to tell me when my kids were ready for something. So I submitted my request, making very clear that the ages of my daughters (5 1/2 and just under 4) were less than the intended target.
We received our copy of the book and I crossed my fingers that the girls would like it. The book consists of five short stories. Five short mysteries. Each mystery was long enough to create a picture and engage some dialogue but short enough that it could easily keep their attention.
Now, here’s your advanced warning. Spoiler alert. Oh wait, it’s a kids’ story so I guess I really don’t need that disclaimer. Well at least I’ve covered my bases. In the first story, Sunny’s best friend loses her dog. It’s missing from the yard. But the gate has been locked so nobody could come into the yard and take it. They examine the back yard and there’s a hole under the fence. I stopped reading and said to the girls “What do you think would happen in our yard if there was a hole under the fence?” We talked about it for a little bit and they realized that our dogs could get out of the yard. Away. Lost. The story continues that Sunny and her best friend go outside the fence and see tracks leading away from the fence. Once again, I stopped and asked “You know how when the grass is wet that you like to walk through the grass then walk onto the sidewalk and make footprints?” They both nodded. I said “That’s what they found from the dog. They’re going to follow it just like we follow your footsteps.” Cool, they’re keeping up with the story. Finally, they followed the paw prints all the way to the neighbor’s door where they talked to the neighbor and found the lost dog! The chapter was wrapped up with a few recap questions about the clues we used to find the missing dog. Both girls were able to remind me what the clues where when I asked.
Both the girls were tired but when they heard that the second mystery was about a missing classroom pet, they were wide-eyed and listening. They have been very interested in reading the stories and searching for clues.
Sunny’s Adventures is a fun book that young readers can enjoy on their own but also a great story for parents to read to their emerging readers and younger. Each story includes only a few clues in order to solve the mystery which provides a great introduction into a genre of books that I would have never considered trying out until the girls got a little older.