Do you read chapter books to your toddler?

Last month while Beanie was visiting, I ran across a cute book that I wanted to read to him. I was a little concerned that it was a chapter book, but it was relatively short and well illustrated, and so I thought…why not!

And so we began at nap-time with the first chapter of The Miniature World of Marvin & James by Elise Broach. With five chapters and just over 100 pages and with large print complemented by the charming pen and ink drawings by Kelly Murphy, I felt certain that it would hold Beanie’s attention. And it did!


This is a cute little story about James, a boy, and Marvin his best friend, who just happens to be a beetle. As it happens, James is packing his suitcase to go on vacation to the beach, and of course, Marvin is not invited. Marvin stays at home and plays with his cousin, Elaine. Together they manage to find themselves in something of a predicament – stuck in the pencil sharpener! How will they ever get out? Well, they do and Marvin decides that he will draw a picture for James, a picture of the beach, so that James can remember the fun he had. And when James came home, he had a present for Marvin…his very own seal shell.


I am now on the hunt for chapter books for children that I think that Beanie will like. Of course, on my bookshelves I have plenty of classics, books that I read as a child or that I read with our children. And I am excited to share books that WE have loved with Beanie. But I also am excited to see what is being written now. Stay tuned.

Our children all loved being read to…but none more than our youngest. Many was the night that we fell asleep together (or more likely, I fell asleep while reading!) with a book in hand. He later graduated to books on tape/cd – which was on slightly problematic if you were driving somewhere – he had rules that were strictly enforced – no talking, no stopping for bathroom breaks/food breaks, etc until a chapter had come to an end. Even now he always has a book that he’s listening to in his truck!

So how about you…are you a mother or grandmother, father or grandfather with toddlers? Do you/have you read chapter books with them? Do you have a recommendation for a book you think I need to see?

Some time ago I ran across Jillian who writes at A Mom with a Lesson Plan. She wrote a blog post a couple of years ago about her experiences reading chapter books with her two children. She came up with a great list of takeaways that I think are worth repeating here:

  1. Chapter books will build on a love for reading.
  2. Children will gain an even greater appreciation for the written word.  (There are no pictures to pull you through.)
  3. Chapter books force you to practice patience.  It would be impossible to read a 300 page book in one sitting.  With chapter books you are often forced to press pause on something so exciting.  (How many times have you told yourself “just one more page” while reading a nail biting novel?)
  4. Visualization is a given.  The story unfolds in pictures created in your kids’ imagination instead of an illustrator’s vision.
  5. Language, language, language.  Chapter books use descriptive words to replace pictures.  Imagine the new words your little one will be hearing over and over.
  6. Family Connection.  Most of the movies and shows that kids are interested in can be pretty boring for adults and vise versa.  But reading a carefully selected novel together can be exciting for everyone involved.   (Once they can read on their own it may not be quite as easy to join in the journey, so make sure to really enjoy it.)

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