If I have one read-aloud regret, it’s The Wind in the Willows. Perhaps regret is too strong a word for a book I read aloud to my children, but I’m afraid I read it when they were much too young to really enjoy it. (This was back in 2008, when Lulu was three-turning-four; Louise was two–yes, TWO!–and they actually listened to the whole thing. Really. Gee, I was eager, wasn’t I? Why didn’t someone stick a copy of Betsy-Tacy or Charlotte’s Web in my hands?) Actually, when I think about it, none of us enjoyed it much. Kenneth Grahame‘s diction is oh-so-very British, and I have such a hard time wrapping my tongue (and brain!) around the unfamiliar sentence structures, etc. The Wind in the Willows is a wonderful, entertaining, adventurous story, and I’m fairly certain I would adore it if I read it silently to myself. For me, reading it aloud was akin verbally to doing gymnastics on a tightrope, and I fell off a lot.
But this post isn’t about The Wind in the Willows, is it? It’s about Kenneth Grahame‘s The Reluctant Dragon. My girls are older now, six and five, but Grahame‘s diction and sentence structure are not much changed in this, one of his earlier works. Still, we enjoyed it a little more, I think. It’s a humorous read that turns the whole idea of what a dragon should be on its ear. (Janet wrote about this upending a little bit here.) Then again, St. George also comes off a little less heroically in this story, too, so I guess it comes out even all around. Michael Hague‘s illustrations are really interesting, although there aren’t too many of them (at least in the traditional picture book sense; there are plenty, and in color, too, if you think about this as it is–a longer work). I like that the illustrations and language both recall the Medieval period, so this book provides plenty of opportunity for observation, discussion, and vocabulary enrichment.
We enjoyed this book, and one day I think we might tackle The Wind in the Willows again. I just think I’ll give my tongue a little while to recover first.
Other books about dragons we’ve read, linked to my reviews:
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Elmer and the Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
The Dragons of Blueland by Ruth Stiles Gannett
The Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy
Saint George and the Dragon adapted by Margaret Hodges
Are you doing any lingual gymnastics in your reading aloud? Tell us about in your own Read Aloud Thursday post and link it here, in the comments.
Have a fantastic Read Aloud Thursday!