At the end of the last school year the girls and I decided we would start reading chapter books together as a threesome. It was a great incentive for us to speed up the usually very slow “getting ready for bed” process as we scrambled to jump in bed and dive into our book. I have a wonderful collection of old books that cram every shelf of our home so we plucked out an old copy of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett for our first read. Emma, my almost 8 year old, hung on every word and begged to keep reading each night. My 6 year old Sophie usually followed along but would get bored from time to time and crawl down to the floor to play with legos or flip through a picture book. Even if she didn’t absorb the whole story it was great practice as she heads into Kindergarten and will be required to concentrate for longer periods of time. The Secret Garden is equal parts suspense and whimsy. I loved that the book takes place on the Moors of England. We felt totally transported as we read about this foreign landscape. There were parts of the book that felt slightly dated and almost un-politically correct, but that too presented us with some great conversation starters as I helped the girls to understand how relationships and what is considered appropriate dialogue have changed over time. Next up is Black Beauty. I’ll have a few review here next month!