Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Happy Passover! Happy Easter! Recipe for one fabulous egg dish here, and another here.
Hope you have fun hiding the matzo or the eggs--or whatever else you do to celebrate with your family and friends.



  1. I got a new Real Simple and a new O on Tuesday, and you were in both! Yay, you!

    Also, I wondered if you (or anyone else) had a recommendation for a good chapter book to start reading with a 4 year old. When did you start reading chapter books with yours? Any ideas would be appreciated!

  2. Anonymous9:21 AM

    Suzannah--We love chapter books! I think I may have started reading chapter books to my daughter around that age. We loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder series. It's fun to read them in order, but if you'd rather just pick one, our personal favorite is "On the Banks of Plum Creek." This is mainly because it introduces the deliciously mean Nellie Olson. (Don't worry, not too mean. There's some sticking out of the tongue and some grabby or snooty behavior.)It's also really beautifully written and introduces kids to this 'olden days' pioneer life that inspires a lot of great play. My oldest is always Mary, her little sister Laura, baby brother Carrie, and our cat is "good ol' bulldog Jack." Another great one--although it's perfect for her right now at 6 years old--is "James and the Giant Peach." I'm looking forward to other's suggestions. --Cathy K
    P.S. Catherine, made some mutsy this morning and it was yummy! Thanks for introducing it as one of your recipes. Such a great one, and especially for families with kids.

  3. Anonymous10:51 AM

    Another great series of chapter books, shorter chapters and a bit more excitement (I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder growing up, but when I tried to read them to my kids I couldn't get over how many boring explanations there were about how things were built) is the Magic Tree House. Each book is a little adventure to somewhere, from Ancient Greece to the US prairies, North Pole to the Antarctic. My some started reading them himself at age 5 and loves that he can get a passport of stamps for all the places he's read about from the website.

  4. I love the Laura Ingalls books, I loved them as a child, but when I reread them as an adult I was a bit depressed - all the hardships, and does nothing ever go right for Pa? But I was also a bit stunned to think of the little girls, sitting quietly and still in the covered wagon for literally months, through all kinds of weather, to go to someplace wild and unknown. Imagine doing that today.

  5. I second the vote for James and the Giant Peach, which was the first chapter book I read to my kids. The older boy enjoyed it at 5, and the younger put up with it at 3. They both loved the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, the Fudge books by Judy Bloom, and Matilda by Roald Dahl at that age. (On a side note, it's hard to reconcile my appreciation for his books with the knowledge that Dahl was a freaking Nazi). They also liked Captain Underpants, but I'm not sure that counts as a chapter book.

    For the parents of older kids out there, I have a few recommendations, too. First, Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series-- my son devoured those books about a young demigod in contemporary times, and we're anxiously awaiting book 5, to be released May 5. Second, my kids both really liked Jeff Smith's Bone graphic novel series--but it might be a bit TOO graphic for some. Third, I'm reading The Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan with the older one right now, and it's got its problems, but it still draws you in-- it's a fantasy kind of book, and the first in a series. Fourth, the older one has really enjoyed the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, but I've never read them, so can't vouch for them. And though it's not a chapter book, the older one loves Calvin and Hobbes, too, which is fun and creative, and builds his vocabulary, social awareness, and imagination, too.

  6. "Someone break-ed all her eggs!" The Baby said dourly, looking at that picture.
    We liked - chapter book wise - the Henry Huggins books. Oh Henry, you scamp! Also, Pippi.

  7. Thanks for the recipes! Yes, the Magic Tree House books are great, my son loves them. We read all kinds of things, especially fairy tales. Though some are quite gruesome. I read them first now, so I won't have to skip parts or make up the ending. If you ever read "The Rose Elf" in the Brothers Grimm compilation, you'll know why I say this.

  8. Catherine, I just finished catching up on your blog here starting in 2006. I just love you and your family. Your pioneering trials in the blog and your quirky neurotics in "Waiting for Birdy," has made me feel like we're best friends... which I realize is a little weird, so I thought you should at least know about our relationship! The best of everything to you and your family, and all of your readers (who I am certain share this possibly creepy, psudo/cyber friendship with you).

  9. Catherine, your mix of passionate love and tongue-in-cheek about family life is irreplaceable. Love your stuff.

    Suzannah, this summer I read Mr. Poppers Penguins and James and the Giant Peach and the Frog and Toad series with my own four-year-old. All big hits.

    Check out Raising A Reader all this week on Bonbon
    sweetest living for your family

  10. Chapter book favs:
    Charlotte's web (my all time favorite line from that book is:"Children always hold on tighter than their parent's think they will)

    A Cricket in Times square

    The mouse and the motorcycle.

    The real Alice in wonderland

    Freckle juice

  11. Thanks, all! I teach 4th grade (and even have a graduate degree in reading) so I love many of those suggestions too. I'm afraid I'm so programmed to think like a 4th grader that I'll forget about some "scary" parts that would thrill or even be unnoticed by a 4th grader, but would scare a 4 year old. I do have a bunch of Magic Treehouse books in my classroom for my lower readers, and think she would love Ramona too. Might save Roald Dahl for a few more years, although I love him myself. For those with older readers (2nd or 3rd grade and up), I love "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" by Kate DiCamillo as a read aloud.
    Thanks - this is very helpful!

  12. okay, I want Rubarb now. Thanks.
    thanks to suzannah and mentioning those 2 mags. but what month was the real simple?

  13. Anonymous10:47 PM


    My 4 year old absolutely loves Wind in the Willows. It was her first chapter book and remains her favorite. Happy reading!

  14. Suzannah:

    We read "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" by Beverly Cleary on our car ride to the beach last summer and really enjoyed it. All the Dahl books are enjoyable, though you might wait a bit for "Danny, Champion of the World." You might also try some poetry as well. We love Caroline Kennedy's "A Family of Poems." Great illustrations.

  15. You know, I find them kind of bizarrely outdated, but both of my kids loved/love the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books to be read aloud at that age. They are REALLY DATED--- I mean, all the dads ask what's for beakfast before distractedly heading off for work before the moms begin to clean and fret all day about whatever behavior problem their child has that Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fixes with a good-old fashioned trick or even magic in some cases, but for some reason my kids just absolutely ate them up. They were a gift from Grandma, if you're wondering why I own them and yet don't like them all that much :) The kids wanted to hear them over and over and over.

  16. Anonymous12:20 PM

    i guess i am reading the wrong stuff, my kindergartner likes the Flat Stanley books as well as the Junie B. books with a few words changed due to her sometimes attitude!

  17. Hampton9:19 PM

    All of a Kind Family is such a wonderful trip back in time. Oh but that my 6 year old would listen to aloud reading of chapter books. So sad. I have so much to share with her!

  18. Tracey M11:52 PM

    Darned if I couldn't post over at Family...

    But,(hee-hee) I had to tell you that I used to call them butt peas when I was little, too!!! (Sometimes hienie beans also. How DO you spell that anyway?)

    Thank you for the wonderful book selections here. I've made me a list and can't wait to get to the library!