Mini Reviews from Classic Children’s Literature

C is almost 5 and still enjoys plenty of picture books, but this year we’ve been reading more and more classic chapter books. Between audiobooks while we’re in the car and whatever book we’re reading here at home, we’re on a roll! I thought I’d combine our most recent reads into a mini review post.

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Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater
This was a completely new one for me. How had I never even heard of it? I loved the rich vocabulary, the problem-solving (especially how to keep the penguins happy and healthy), and the little bits of social studies woven seamlessly into the story. C’s reaction? “Sooooo cute and those penguins are hilarious!”

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I read these books over and over again as a child. Loved them, and the television series, too. And you know, I found that I remember little nothing about what is actually inside the books. It was like reading it again for the first time. Little House in the Big Woods is very descriptive about the day-to-day (and seasonal) things that homesteaders have to do. I have a very talkative inquisitive child, which is probably why it took us months to get through the book. I could hardly finish a couple of sentences in a row before being interrupted by (very good) questions. I did run into a couple instances where I ended up censoring a bit: I skipped the terrifying yellow jacket scene (had a heads up thanks to my friend April at The Steadfast Reader) and changed a racial slur. Overall, I found the book a teensy bit on the boring side as an adult, but C loved it and immediately asked if we could go to Barnes & Noble to get the next one.

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is just fantastic. She “cures” children of all sorts of ailments – anything and everything, from not taking a bath to not cleaning up their room or refusing to eat – all with wit and humor and plenty of fun. C’s reaction: “I liked Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s name, because it’s fun to say and makes me think of a pig that wiggles. And the hump that she had on her back, and her upside down house. And I liked Patsy, who didn’t take a bath. I liked when she screamed because of the warm water. That was my favorite part of the story.”