Obviously we’re reading a lot of things that AREN’T on the list. The adults on the list are reading adult books; the beginning readers are working steadily at their Guided Reading books and library books and the basket of currently-seasonal books that sits on their table.

But here are the read-out-loud chapter books that we’re sharing:0-590-44477-8

Santa Claus Doesn’t Mop Floors: The Bailey Elementary third graders are at it again, and the janitor has had it. His replacement, Mr. Jolly, keeps the school magically clean and as cold as the North Pole. Now the kids are beginning to suspect Mr. Jolly may be…Santa Claus! We should have tackled this last month, but we’re still enjoying it. Besides, it’s hard to let go of Christmas all at once. We like to ease down gradually.


january joker January Joker: In the first book of the Calendar Mysteries — an early chapter book mystery series featuring the younger siblings of the A to Z Mysteries detectives — Green Lawn has a problem! When Bradley Pinto wakes up in the night to strange lights in his backyard, he wonders if there are aliens in town. When he sees three-toed tracks in the snow, he’s sure of it. His twin, Brian, and friends Lucy and Nate aren’t so certain. But then Lucy’s cousin Dink, the twins’ brother Josh, and Nate’s sister Ruth Rose all disappear. Are there “really “aliens in Green Lawn? And where could they be taking Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose? This is the first book by Ron Roy we’ve tried. For once we are actually starting a series WITH THE FIRST BOOK IN THE SERIES. This is a huge achievement for us.

21840315 The Snow Day from the Black Lagoon: When a blizzard hits, Hubie knows that doesn’t mean a snow day, it means a “no” day — nothing moves, nothing happens. After spending all afternoon zipping zippers, snapping snaps, and buckling buckles, he’s finally ready to explore the winter wonderland. Can Hubie plow through his snow-venture or will he be left out in the cold? Some of the humour in these books is a little over my kids’ heads, but they love the illustrations and they “get” the contrast between Hubie’s worst fears and what’s really happening, so I’m content to keep them on the roster.

elizabeth's valentineElizabeth’s Valentine: Identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield can’t wait until Eva, the new girl in their second-grade class, arrives from Jamaica. When Elizabeth is picked to show Eva around school, the two become friends, and Jessica begins to feel left out. After all, she and Elizabeth are supposed to be best friends. To get back at her twin, Jessica ignores Elizabeth and pretends to keep secrets from her. She even pretends she has a new best friend. Elizabeth can’t understand why Jessica is being so mean. Everything’s a mess, and it’s up to Eva to help Elizabeth and Jessica become friends again! My daughter found this on my shelf of vintage paperbacks, and I agreed to read it to her. She’s riveted. I have mixed feelings about Sweet Valley, but the twins are only seven in this and there’s no overt body-image-policing, so I’m cautiously agreeing to this for now. (The next series up–Sweet Valley Twins–is going to have to wait for a time when my children are old enough to have a serious talk about Why We Don’t Treat People the Way Jessica Treats Them. Although actually, I’m hoping they ALREADY know how mean her behaviour would be in real life, and that it’s not okay to hate people for being fat or whatever else Jessica thinks is a flaw.)